February 29th — One Day

This is a rarely occurring day — every four years. So it made me wonder how many books are supposed to occur in one day. Here is a list of twelve novels that occur in just one day and at least one play.

Novels of One Day:

  1. Ulysses (1922) by James Joyce:

On June 16th of every year, Leopold Bloom day is celebrated worldwide an homage to Homer’s Odyssey.

  1. Mrs. Dalloway (1925) by Virginia Woolf:

Centered on Clarissa Dalloway the book starts with her pondering the decision to marry:her husband, another man, or the woman she loves.

  1. Under the Volcano (1947) by Malcolm Lowry:

This is part Lowry’s autobiography and part novel, it takes place on Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead (Nov 1) in 1938. Former British consul Geoffery Firmin explores the small town of Quauhnahuac after quitting his position. A raging alcoholic, he hopes to begin a novel, but it is hard.

  1. Seize the Day (1956) by Saul Bellow:

Tommy Wilhelm faces a grim midlife, unemployed and isolated from his family — he spirals in one exceptionally crowded, painful day.

  1. Billiards at Half-Past Nine (1959) by Heinrich Boll:                                                                War and Nazis haunt September 6, 1958, with flashbacks and  memories included bits of the author’s witnessing the Nazi invasion of his hometown of Cologne perspectives and the conflict that occurs if they blow up St. Anthony Abbey.
  1. A Single Man (1964) by Christopher Isherwood:

George is a gay, middle-aged professor from England, relocated and teaching in California, who has to deal with the unexpected automobile death of his lover, Jim.

  1. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) by Philip K. Dick:

This is a day of bounty hunter Rick Deckard, deactivates some androids known as Replicants and this became the film Blade Runner.

  1. Hogfather (1996) by Terry Pratchett:

Hogfather is a part of the Discworld series and is whimsical take on the Santa/Father Christmas tale, told on December 32nd. Fun with wordplay and paroldy.

  1. The Hours (1998) by Michael Cunningham:

Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, this novel phases between a day in the life of Virginia Wolfe and two other women from three different points in time., one of whom being the famous writer herself. The novel explores many of the same themes.

  1. Cosmopolis (2003) by Don DeLillo:

Cosmopolis unfolds in a day and mostly in Eric Packer’s limousine driving through Manhattan while he goes for a haircut for a man with obscene wealth and interior emptiness.

  1. After Dark (2004) by Haruki Murakami:

Mari Asai just wants to sit alone at Denny’s with her book and a cup of coffee in Tokyo, but life offers other things: a bloodied prostitute, proprietors of a seedy hotel, Chinese mafia, and her sister’s old friend Takahashi.

  1. Saturday (2005) by Ian McEwen

Set in Fitzrovia, London, on Saturday, 15 February 2003, Henry Perowne, a 48-year-old neurosurgeon encounters a demonstration is taking place against the United States’ 2003 invasion of Iraq and as he goes about the day he meets a troubled man.

Novels in One Day is where I found eleven of these descriptions by Aniya Wells, and posted on January 9, 2011.

Plays  It easier to write a play about a single day. One of the most awarded is Eugene O’Neill’s Long Days Journey Into Night, which was written in 1942, but not produced until 1956. The day is a day in August 1912.

“Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at…something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.”  ― David Nicholls, One Day



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