one novel = one day
March 23, 2009 10:21 AM   Subscribe

Please tell me of good novels you have read where the story all takes place in one day.

Or less. The novel could all take place in an hour, or an afternoon.

Here's some I already know: Ulysses by Joyce, Mrs. Dalloway by Woolf, Saturday by Ian McEwan, Travels in the Scriptorium and Man in the Dark by Paul Auster.
posted by jammy to Writing & Language (34 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry.
It is quite excellent.
posted by mesh gear fox at 10:22 AM on March 23, 2009


Apparently there's also a wikipedia entry with exactly what you're looking for.

(I googled "novels that take place in 1 day", it was the first result.)
posted by mesh gear fox at 10:25 AM on March 23, 2009


Ulysses by James Joyce takes place on June 16, 1904.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 10:27 AM on March 23, 2009


Oops, you said you already know that one. Sorry.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 10:28 AM on March 23, 2009


The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker takes place over a single lunch hour.
posted by Daily Alice at 10:30 AM on March 23, 2009


Seize the Day, great book.
posted by Kirklander at 10:30 AM on March 23, 2009


If you could stretch the deadline to 49 hours, there's James Gould Cozzens' By Love Possessed.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:30 AM on March 23, 2009


On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan takes place over the course of a couple's wedding night, although there are quite a few flashbacks to fill in the backstory.
posted by anderjen at 10:31 AM on March 23, 2009


One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

If my memories of high school are accurate - this was a good book.
posted by Julnyes at 10:34 AM on March 23, 2009


Ann Patchett's Run.
posted by Perplexity at 10:37 AM on March 23, 2009


After Dark by Haruki Murakami
posted by bshort at 10:52 AM on March 23, 2009


Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Not exactly highbrow literature, but...
posted by Gotham at 11:17 AM on March 23, 2009


Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles.

Independence Day by Richard Ford (I think).
posted by scratch at 11:19 AM on March 23, 2009


the floating opera, by john barth. the best part about it is that the author isn't really sure which day it was.
posted by lester at 11:19 AM on March 23, 2009


Daily Alice mentioned Nicholson Baker. He specializes in this kind of thing. Try Room Temperature.
posted by Mender at 11:21 AM on March 23, 2009


Embers, by Sandor Marai, takes place over the course of one conversation.
posted by scody at 11:33 AM on March 23, 2009


Richard Ford's Independence Day does not fit this category, as it actually takes place over three or four days, as I recall.
posted by chinston at 11:39 AM on March 23, 2009


Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, of course.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:41 AM on March 23, 2009


Restlessness by Aritha van Herk takes place over the course of a few hours, with some discussion of flashbacks. If you're ok with multiple single day stories, The Hours, a sort of response to Mrs. Dalloway fits.
posted by jeather at 11:50 AM on March 23, 2009


253 by Geoff Ryman.
posted by zerokey at 12:03 PM on March 23, 2009


One Night @ the Call Center by Chetan Bhagat
A bestseller in India. I liked it, but not everyone did.
posted by Methylviolet at 12:05 PM on March 23, 2009


Heart of Darkness takes place in one day, but it is told in retrospect, i believe.
posted by slograffiti at 1:08 PM on March 23, 2009


The Rider by Tim Krabbe. It is a stream of consciousness narrative of a fictional european road race told by one of the riders.
posted by Manjusri at 1:54 PM on March 23, 2009


Apparently there's also a wikipedia entry with exactly what you're looking for.
(I googled "novels that take place in 1 day", it was the first result.)


yes, thank you - I did that google search too - I should have mentioned that

just to clarify: I am looking for good novels that you have read - lists are nice, but I'm really looking for recommendations...
posted by jammy at 2:44 PM on March 23, 2009


um, where are my manners?

many good answers, MeFolk! thanks muchly - keep 'em coming!

it is a great & wonderful thing about our world that there are more books out there, and good books mind you, than you could read in a lifetime...
posted by jammy at 2:56 PM on March 23, 2009


Cees Nooteboom's The Following Story takes place over the course of a few minutes.

Susan Minot's Rapture takes place over the course of one blowjob.
posted by painquale at 3:03 PM on March 23, 2009


The DaVinci Code
Angels & Demons
posted by mohrr at 5:30 PM on March 23, 2009


Heart of Darkness takes place in one day, but it is told in retrospect, i believe.

I don't think Heart of Darkness fits at all. It's framed briefly at the beginning and end with Marlow telling the story on a boat in the Thames, sure, but the action of the actual story he tells takes much more than a day. I doubt it's what the poster is looking for.

I'll third Nicholson Baker - The Mezzanine is a very clever, very fun read.
posted by mediareport at 8:57 PM on March 23, 2009


If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor.

Very much stream-of-conciousness, almost cinematic. One of my favourite books.
posted by unbearablylight at 5:08 AM on March 24, 2009


Another Nicholson Baker book that fits this category is Vox, which as I recall involves one very extended phone call between two people. I remember liking it a lot and thinking I was oh-so-sophisticated for reading it, but that's probably because I was about 16 and the phone call resulted from two people calling up a phone-sex line....
posted by DavidNYC at 3:23 PM on March 24, 2009


Oh I immediately thought of Vox too! Why am I always several days behind on these questions! Anyway, yeah the whole book is one big long phone conversation. Very cool set-up.
posted by silverstatue at 12:02 PM on March 26, 2009


I read this 10+ years ago now, but I remember it being really good. Vertical Run takes place in one day and was a quick fun read.
posted by skrike at 1:48 PM on March 27, 2009


I've read all the Nicholson Baker books here- I like him a lot- and I recommend only Vox, which is quite nice (and rather steamy). The Mezzanine is too microscopic and I find it gets tedious, and Room Temp is mundane and bored me. The Fermata, however, is the reason why he's famous, and though it's not a one-day book, it is a really fun, ridiculous read.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:15 AM on June 2, 2009


Ulysses has been mentioned and I'd also like to recommend it. Certainly some portions of it are difficult, the Nighttown chapter for example, but most of it is very enjoyable and some of it is earth-shatteringly beautiful: Stephen Dedalus in his classroom, Blooms morning, Molly's mental ramblings. Give it a try and skip a chapter if you find yourself struggling. Each chapter is different so while some are tough, others read like a romance novel (Gerty on the Beach).
posted by knolan at 8:24 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


« Older So where is all this bailout m...   |  A friend of mine is interested... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.