I Could Love You

William Nicholson. Soho, $25 (368p) ISBN 978-1-56947-954-4

Screenwriter (Gladiator) and novelist Nicholson follows up The Secret of Everyday Life with this sharp ensemble tale of suburban English drama, missed connections, intersecting fates, and good old-fashioned miscommunication. Belinda—married, in her 50s, and "transparent in all her needs"—considers an affair, only to discover that her husband, Tom, has already beat her to the punch with Meg, who truly loves Tom and remains "compliant as ever" in waiting for him to need her, too. Meanwhile, Matt, a plumber, loves Meg and vies for her attention. Then there's the college love triangle of Chloe, Jack, and Alice, and an aging artist who falls prey to his own disappointment and sense of failure while still managing to create art and inspire other young minds. It's a busy story with buckets of desire, unrequited love, disillusionment, growing pains, and strained friendships—and Nicholson juggles all of it with ease, cracking wise and counterbalancing the raw emotion with smart, crisp insight and lacerating wit, giving this the feel of a Nick Hornby novel with a little more teeth. (July)
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