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Dinner for Two
by Mike Gayle
ISBN 0743477669 / 9780743477666 / 0-7434-7766-9
Publisher Gallery Books
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Dinner for Two, the fourth novel from Mike Gayle, is, like its predecessors, a "blokes can be sensitive too" gander at the complicated lives of late twenty/thirtysomething Londoners. Dave Harding is a "serious music" journalist for Louder magazine, a publication "staffed by pro-faced boys who think that the more obscure the band is the cooler they are". When Louder folds Dave finds himself penning articles for Femme, a women's glossy edited by his beloved wife, Izzy, and then lands a job as the agony uncle of Teen Scene, a boy-band saturated magazine for adolescent girls. (Gayle was himself a jobbing journalist and agony uncle and in the interest of realism (or economy) re-purposes some of his own pieces for Cosmo etc. here.)
"Love Doctor" Dave finds, to his immense surprise, he rather enjoys his new career, soon he's dispensing romantic advice to correspondents, friends and colleagues with gay abandon. Since Izzy's recent miscarriage however, Dave has been obsessed with one thing: babies. At 31, he wants, more than anything else, to become a father, that is until he receives an astonishing letter from Nicola, a 13-year-old Teen Scene reader. Nicola claims that Dave is her Dad. After a few clandestine meetings in McDonalds and Burger Kings he's convinced but should he tell Izzy anything? True to his gender he dithers with predictably catastrophic, well, to be completely honest, mildly (and only briefly) unfortunate results.--Travis Elborough [via]