A love story, in which all the events, people and places are taken from the contents of the "The Times" of 1st November, 1993.
'It's the last day of the holidays and Spencer Kelly (12) wants to hold Hazel Burns (12) by the hand. This is the meaning of life. He wants to sit beside her on a sand dune and hold her hand and then kiss her. Just kissing, in a nice way, on her cheek perhaps and then a little bit at the top of her arms- If he can kiss her this once then he'll always have kissed her, and everything which follows will be different. It's to be the one moment which instantly changes everything.'
Beard is a talented writer, crafting many scenes with luminous precision
Damascus recounts a day in the life of young lovers Spencer and Hazel, 1 November 1993. It's the day they finally meet again after years communicating only by phone. It's also the day that they appear, at various points throughout the book, to be aged 10, 13, 18 or 21 or indeed, in the opening chapter, zero. It may spoil the novel to give away its ending
The climactic showdown is not only an apt marriage of the novel's form and content-but also gently comic, the characteristic tone of this undertaking. Ludic in a peculiarly British manner-An assured achievement
'Like Nick Hornby and Jonathan Coe, beard comically unhinges style, character and point of view to tell us that indeed we are in the chaos of the contemporary world'