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Five Days

"A brilliant meditation on regret, fidelity, family, and second chances that ...
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Ask Douglas Kennedy a question about 'Five Days'

Created: 05/03/13

Replies: 7

Posted May. 03, 2013 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 10/11/10

Posts: 359

Ask Douglas Kennedy a question about 'Five Days'

In early May Douglas Kennedy answered questions about "Five Days" - below you'll find the questions and answers.

I also recommend the extensive Q&A about "Five Days" at

- Davina (BookBrowse editor)

Posted May. 08, 2013 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 05/08/13

Posts: 1

RE: Ask Douglas Kennedy a question about 'Five Days'

Q. Could Richard have been bipolar? And did you consider having him not pay the hotel bill?

A. Richard isn't bi-polar. He is just tragically unable to eject himself from a life, a marriage, he knows is all wrong for him. As such he is like so many of us: the architect of his own cul-de-sac who, even when seeing a way out of entrapment, chooses to stay trapped. Of course he had to pay the hotel bill. He's not a creep or a deadbeat or mean. On the contrary he is a truly gentle man (and a gentleman) - albeit one who - when it comes to a juncture when the entire trajectory of his life could change - chooses the sad status quo.

Posted May. 08, 2013 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 52

RE: Ask Douglas Kennedy a question about 'Five Days'

Q. Was there a reason for having constant text contact with the children part of the plot. I found it off-putting because I'm so against people who cannot be without their smartphones for any length of time. That part of the story almost made me want to stop reading. A grown woman with grown children needing to text daily seems to make her more needy than perhaps you meant her to be.

A. Now I speak as a parent to two children in late adolescence - and we are constantly in touch by email and text (like so many parents and children I know). I don't think Laura is being needy. Nor is she in any way a controlling or dominant mother. On the contrary she is shrewd about the way her children both need her and need their own independence. A parent is always a parent - and a good parent is there at the end of a cellphone when needed by his or her children.

Posted May. 09, 2013 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 78

RE: Ask Douglas Kennedy a question about 'Five Days'

Q. As one of the First Impressions readers I thoroughly enjoyed your book but was left with these questions... How long does it take to fall desperately in love? Can a weekend away provide the answer?

I don't feel you can what was your intention by making such a short time frame?

A. The French have an expression for it: a 'coup de foudre' where one falls in love virtually at first sight. That's not what happens in "Five Days" - but actually, in my experience, love often does start with a sense of intense immediate connection. And yes, a happenstantial meeting can change everything. Of course the whole thing about a weekend love affair (and one which offers the possibility of reordering the parameters of two lives) is that, come Monday morning, there will be a different reality. But yes, I do believe that people can - and do - fall in love on the spot. And then there is the life beyond that initial 'coup de foudre'... which is always another story.

Posted May. 12, 2013 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 60

RE: Ask Douglas Kennedy a question about 'Five Days'

Q. (Besides writing with words) are unique words a hobby or particular interest of yours?

A. Like Laura and Richard I am a synonym junkie, and have always treasured my copy of The Synonym Finder: the more comprehensive, intelligent and witty thesaurus around. All writers love words. They are our m├ętier,

Posted May. 12, 2013 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 9

RE: Ask Douglas Kennedy a question about 'Five Days'

Q. At any point in your writing of this novel, did you consider using any voice other than Laura's as a narrator?

A. When mulling over the initial premise - all that 'back of the head' work which encompasses the months up to actually starting the writing - I did once ponder whether it should be told from Laura and Richard's perspective. But I eventually decided that Laura should be the only narrative voice, as the novel isn't just a chronicle of a brief, intense love affair, but of a woman's life at a particularly complex and questioning juncture. As such I decided: it is her story, and the tale of her own quiet transformation.

Posted May. 12, 2013 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 04/19/12

Posts: 14

A question of perception,...

Q. Mr. Kennedy, I hadn't realized that you have spent most of the past decades living abroad (I read the bits of the Q&A on your personal site), have you noted a difference in the reception of your books since you've come home!? Or, even, a difference in perception when you tell people you're a writer, a novelist?! I happily was reading about the French and their enthused passion for not only your writing but the writings of all Americans, as you lamented the fact that they are simply over the moon for Americana and happily will drink in all narratives that gives them a closer view of our everyday lives.

I find this to be true, as my Mum has French correspondents, and they always appear to be engaged in whichever anecdote of my Mum's life she's relaying to them by letter. I would be curious, do you find that readers in America hold within them that same spark of excitement and mirth, as our European counterparts, or do you find that it's different being a writer here than there, on the level that only in certain places are writers better respected and exalted?! I personally have found it to be regionally inclined, and was curious if you had found the same!? New England for me, is a region that happily celebrates the creative economist, for instance.

A. I did live abroad from 1977 to 2007 - first in Dublin, then London, while also having pied-a-terres in Paris and Berlin. I decided to buy a house in Maine in 2007 as a way of returning home, and officially became an American resident again at the start of 2011. Reconnecting with my country was essential for me - but I am still regularly in Europe (and elsewhere!) on an ongoing basis. Someone once described an expatriate as: at home abroad, abroad at home. I am very much at home in the States, but very much at home abroad as well. And yes, this has given my fiction - and especially my perspective on my home country - a certain distinctive resonance (I hope!).

Posted May. 14, 2013 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 09/05/11

Posts: 42

RE: Ask Douglas Kennedy a question about 'Five Days'

I don't have a question for you, but I wanted to tell you how many memories you stirred up with the setting that you used.

My husband was stationed at Brunswick Naval Air Station after graduating from dental school so I had snapshots in my mind of so many of the places mentioned in the book.


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