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by Nick Hornby

Pub Date: May 7th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-593-08734-3
Publisher: Riverhead

An unhappy couple walks into a bar....

"This would make a good play," one may think while reading Hornby's (Funny Girl, 2015, etc.) latest—if one doesn't know that it has already been dramatically produced for television. In addition to being a little book with 10 short chapters, State of the Union is also a 10-part series of 10-minute episodes with Rosamund Pike and Chris O'Dowd, to be released on SundanceTV the day before publication. Consisting almost entirely of witty repartee, the slim volume reads more like a script than a novel. In both the book and the series, Tom and Louise, a couple, meet at a pub across the street from their marriage counselor's office each week before their appointment. Each week he (an unemployed music critic) has a pint and works the Guardian's cryptic crossword and she (a gerontologist) has a glass of white wine. Once set up with their drinks, they banter either irritably or companionably about black-and-white films, Brexit, and their relationship. "It's a long and complicated road that has led us here. Don't you think?" says Louise. "Well. It depends which way you look at it. There's the long and complicated, and then there' the crow flies," says Tom. "Talk me through the route your crow flies," Louise says. "You slept with someone else, and here we are," says Tom. Though between Week 4 and Week 5, Tom moves out of the family home and into "a squat with three media studies students," he never goes so far as to buy his own copy of the newspaper, preferring to print the crossword off the website. Unlike another couple they often watch coming out of the appointment right before theirs, Tom and Louise have hope, right?

Leaves you eager to watch the show. Wait—do you think that was the idea?