Love triangle

Ménage à trois: Day, by Michael Cunningham, reviewed

Set over the course of the same April day, with morning, afternoon and night ascribed to consecutive years, Michael Cunningham’s Day is built around time’s march towards an inevitable ending. This feeling of being caught up in time and trapped by its onward force is shared by the novel’s small cast of characters. A married couple, Isabel and Dan Byrne, along with Isabel’s brother Robbie, are struggling with their floundering careers, ageing bodies and their place in the world. They are also balancing a painful platonic love triangle, with both Dan and Isabel more in love with Robbie than with each other. The claustrophobic domesticity of the novel is amplified

Love in idleness: The Four Corners of the Heart, by Françoise Sagan, reviewed

Do not be alarmed. You have not suffered a blow to the head. Françoise Sagan, the author of the 1954 phenomenon Bonjour Tristesse (published when she was 18; two million copies sold), is indeed no longer with us. She died in 2004, aged 69. Yet here is her brand new novel, recovered by her son Denis Westhoff from the mass – and presumably mess – of her papers. Perhaps better described as an unfinished story, there’s a romantic charm, innocence and otherworldliness to this book of a kind unlikely to be found in a contemporary novel. But it’s also an uncomfortable read in parts, no matter how ironic the text