New Book – Seeing Other People by Mike Gayle (Pages 1-22)


Publishing year: 2014

Joe Clarke wakes up, unsure where he is.

He thinks that the night before when he was out at some kind of meeting with friends, he was mugged. So his first idea is that he has been out cold all this time, but then he realises he is in bed. He then thinks he might be in hospital, and when he finally manages to turn a light on, he sees that he is in a bedroom he doesn’t recognise. Looking around, he notices female clothes, so she imagines that someone helped him last night after he was mugged. But then he sees Bella, his intern, naked in the bed with him, and he is also naked. To his horror, he realises he has had sex with Bella, and cheated on his wife of twenty years. What he doesn’t understand is why he doens’t remember anything. Was he so drunk that he doesn’t even remember meeting Bella? He knows that Bella wanted to meet with him, but he tried to fob her off. So what happened? All he knows is that he has to make sure that Penny, his wife, never discovers this indiscretion, as he is sure she will leave him.

Then the action moves back in time. Joe thinks that this event at present must have started when he learnt that his ex-girlfriend Fiona had died. Fiona was his girlfriend when he was sixteen. He wasn’t happy with her, as she was a possessive woman who treated him hideously. He tried to break up with him to no avail, and it was only when Fiona decided to break it off that Joe was free. When he went to university, he met Penny, and from the first they were attracted to each other and became a couple at once, and when Fiona turned up to get back with him, she was late, and Joe was relieved to have Penny and send Fiona packing.

During Fiona’s funeral something that her father said got to Joe. Apparently, Fiona’s motto was to live every day at its fullest as one only lives once. Then Joe keeps thinking if this is all to life. Things have changed when Penny returned to work when their two children, Rosie(10) and Jack (6) were old enough. Besides, they needed the money. Now Joe feels neglected by his wife, whose attention goes to her job and the children. So that is why Joe keeps thinking about Fiona and the sense of life. Maybe that is why he lets himself be seduced by Bella. I wonder if Penny will find out about his unfaithfulness and what will happen then. And why doesn’t Joe remember a thing?


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