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*THE SIDE-SPLITTING NEW COMIC SHORT FROM ONE OF BRITAIN'S BEST-LOVED WRITERS, NOW A MAJOR BBC TV SERIES*
Each week, Tom and Louise meet for a quick drink in the pub before they go to meet their marriage counsellor. Married for years and with two children, a recent incident has exposed the fault lines in their relationship in a way that Tom, for one, does not wish to think about.
In the ten minutes in the pub they talk about the agenda for the session, what they talked about last week, what they will definitely not talk about with the counsellor, and how much better off they are than the couple whose counselling slot immediately precedes their own.
Over the ten weeks that follow Tom and Louise begin to wonder: what if marriage is like a computer? When you take it apart to see how it works you might just be left with a million pieces you can't put back together . . .
Hornby (Funny Girl) deploys his characteristic wit in this acerbic depiction of a marriage in crisis, already adapted for television. Tom, an unemployed 44-year-old music critic, and his wife, Louise, a 40-year-old gerontologist, meet in a pub across the street from their weekly marriage counseling sessions. Louise recently had an affair, and the two tussle over whether they even want to save their sexless, frustrating relationship. Although their pain and confusion pokes through, they disguise their emotions behind petty squabbles such as their differing votes on Brexit and Tom's antipathy for Call the Midwife and playful banter, including discussing their imagined second marriages. Tom abruptly moves out of their house, setting up nearly absurd conversations in which Louise admits to telling their children a series of lies to cover his absence, and Tom is cagey about revealing his unpleasant living arrangements. Glimmers of their former closeness appear as they favorably and conspiratorially compare themselves to other clients of their therapist. The relative lack of non-dialogue text propels the immediacy and intensity as Tom and Louise teeter toward a hopeful conclusion. Readers who want an honest exploration of a relationship will be taken by the sprightly balance of difficult emotions and sarcastic humor.