Five Days

Five Days

By Douglas Kennedy

Atria Books, Hardcover, 9781451666335, 309pp.

Publication Date: April 30, 2013


From the critically lauded, internationally bestselling author of The Moment comes a profoundly moving novel that explores how a single brief encounter can change one’s life.

Laura spends her days looking at other people’s potential calamities. She works in the radiography unit of a small hospital on the Maine coast, bearing constant witness to the fears of patient after frightened patient. In a job where finding nothing is always the best possible outcome, she is well versed in the random injustices of life, a truism that has lately been playing out in her marriage as well. Since being downsized, her husband, Dan, has become withdrawn, his emotional distance gradually corroding their relationship. With a son in college and a daughter soon due to leave home, Laura has begun to fear that the marital sounds of silence will only deepen once the nest is truly empty.

When an opportunity arises to attend a weekend medical conference in Boston, Laura jumps at this respite from home. While checking in, she meets a man as gray and uninspired as her drab hotel room. Richard is an outwardly dull, fiftysomething insurance salesman. But during a chance second encounter, Laura discovers him to be surprisingly complex and thoughtful, someone who, like herself, is grappling with the same big questions about decisions made and the human capacity for self-entrapment. As their conversation deepens and begins to veer into shared confessions, the overwhelming sense of personal and intimate connection arises. A transformative love affair begins. But can this potential, much-longed-for happiness be married to their own difficult personal circumstances? Can they upend their lives and embrace that most loaded of words: change?

A love story as clear-sighted and ruminative as it is affecting, Five Days will have you reflecting about the choices we all make that shape our destinies. Crafted with Kennedy’s trademark evocative prose and pitch-perfect in its depiction of the complex realities of modern life, it is a novel that speaks directly to the many contradictions of the human heart.

About the Author
Douglas Kennedy is the author of nine previous novels, including the international bestseller "Leaving the World". Born in Manhattan, he divides his time among London, Paris, Berlin, and Maine, and has two children.

Praise For Five Days

“With Five Days, Douglas Kennedy has crafted a brilliant meditation on regret, fidelity, family, and second chances that will have you breathlessly turning pages to find out what happened in the past and what will happen next. At once heartbreaking and hopeful, it is a bracing new work of fiction by an internationally acclaimed writer at the height of his powers.”
-Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club

“The prolific Kennedy explores his favored themes of mortality, love, and loss in this fluidly written tale. Deftly depicting how certain choices can unexpectedly narrow a life, instead of expanding it, he has much to say about the nature of happiness, the difficulty of change, and the great divide between obligation and desire.”

“Kennedy ably raises questions about marriage, identity, and happiness.”

“…a fine tale of lives re-examined.”

“A gripping emotional rollercoaster, pressing so many buttons it’s likely to have readers examining their own what-might-have-beens.”

“Five Days delves exquisitely and painfully into how it is that people allow themselves to live lives of such tightly 'limited horizons.'”