Book: A Question of Attraction by David Nicholls

Funny British university novel

David Nicholls
A Question of Attraction
Villard, 2003
ISBN: 1-4000-6181-4
338 pages

A Question of Attraction is a pretty funny novel about a smart young man, Brian Jackson, from a working-class family in Essex, who is just about to leave home for his first year at an un-named British university as the book begins. For many years he has had a fascination with the television quiz show University Challenge and, naturally, he's keen to compete on his university's team.

Actually, the quiz show is mostly just the occasion for getting the characters in the book to interact. But that's just fine because the characters are generally interesting and funny. On the team there's Alice Harbinson who's beautiful and pretty posh; Lucy Chang, who is the real brains of the team and is, unaccountably, from Minneapolis; and Patrick Watts, the captain, who takes the game very seriously indeed. There's also Rebecca Epstein, a cynical and wise-cracking Glaswegian who lives down the hall from Alice.

You'd guess that most of the book is about misdirected love and the general dorkyness of first-year university students and you'd be right. There's nothing very new or very remarkable here, but there are more than a few laughs and that's a good enough reason to read the book, if you ask me. Brian Jackson is rather more smooth and articulate when he's narrating than when he's interacting with other people. But then, who isn't.

Some of the bits about being a dorky first-year university student struck little close to home for me, even though that was kind of a while ago. But I still had fun reading the book.

Posted: Fri - June 18, 2004 at 07:13   Main   Category: