What do you do next if you’ve helped define a decade? Amy Jenkins’ This Life was a high water mark in British TV drama. For two years in the mid-1990s, the lives of Milly, Egg, Miles, Anna and the rest became intimately entwined with those of the millions that watched the series. ‘This Life nights’ became a 90s ritual and analyzing the nuances of the plot and characters became a national obsession.
The quality of Amy’s scriptwriting - more truthful than Sex and the City, smarter than Friends – carried over into her fiction. Honeymoon (2000) and Funny Valentine (2002) both sold hundreds of thousands and proved that chick-lit could carry a high IQ as well as a satisfying romantic pay-off.
What did Amy do next? She got on with her life. Fell in love, got married, had a baby boy. And read, and thought, and pondered hard about what sort of story she really wanted to tell. The Art of Losing is the result. Amy has come up with a protagonist who, like herself, lost her mother when she was a small girl. Each chapter of the book bears the name of a relationship - Jake, Daniel, Mark. But it's 'relationship' in the broad sense, so also: Tess (a dog) and Clio (who could carry off a 12 year old's leopard print bikini at the age of 30). Some characters will stay with us throughout the book as Amy explores how an early loss can shape a life.
You can join Amy in her Unbound shed over the next eight months, and watch as the story unfolds. Read an extract from the first chapter below (there’ll be more to read in her shed…). And then sign up and bask in the warm glow of knowing you have helped one of Britain’s best storytellers write her new book.
Released to Unbound patrons for St Valentine’s Day 2012
UNBOUND TIP: Will make women feel saner and help men understand why.
When I was three, my octogenarian great-grandfather leant creakily out of his Bath chair and asked me, moon face and curls, how old I thought he was. I considered gravely. I became convinced. I gave him his answer – six. Now We Are Six, only then, the title implies, have we truly arrived.
When I was six my mother was diagnosed with cancer and retired to a room at the top of the house. There she languished under an eiderdown, thin, blonde, ethereal, endlessly wearing her nightie. Out on the staircase, a rope hung down between the banisters. It was a thick brown rope: her bell. I remember that rope. And a fluffy pink bed jacket.
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