Incendiary (1)

Chris Cleave

I figured I'd follow
Michelle's lead on jotting down mini-reviews of books she read last year. She's already two in so far this year and working on her third most likely, and so am I.

I think the last time I spent so much time "in" book-London was Zadie
Smith's "White Teeth." That may change once I check out Ian McEwan's
"Saturday" or Steven Johnson's "The Ghost Map."

Seeing "Children of Men" twice while reading the book affected how I
followed along with a fictional UK government's response to and
relationship with terror.

Books about cities, as much as about people, done right, send readers off with more questions than answers, and I'm not talking about hunting for travel agents or guidebooks. Said volumes pull you in before capturing the look on your face as they levitate in the air before you, asking you to consider the basis for support, plausibility's invisible strings connecting you to the finished plot on the page. That's what Chris Cleave's done here. (Start as you mean to go on with the extract.)

“What we’re trying to do is to tell them how to do it in the nicest possible manner.”

[…] The one-night-stand (ONS) is a bit like fast food: tempting, but with nauseating afterthoughts.

Make health and safety a priority. Always try to invite him back to
yours, but if you insist on playing away, text a friend to inform them
of your whereabouts.

Avoid dark-alley gropery, and unladylike fumbling in the back of a
cab. Once home, leave him to select a CD from your collection while you
embark on a turbo-tidy.

In the bedroom, forget about your normal night-time routine and
leave pyjamas in their drawer. Discuss the necessaries to avoid
planting any love children or disease, and you're away.

If you're at his, the ONS isn't over until the following morning's "walk of shame" home in last night's outfit.

Steel yourself and hold your head up high.

At yours, offer him breakfast and (assuming you want no more of him) say that your mother is on her way round. […]

That's from Guy Adams' Independent UK article "Girls' guide to a one-night stand" on an updated Debrett's etiquette guide.