Circadian novels are novels that take place over the course of one day – in Latin, ‘circa’ means about and ‘dias’ means day. Circadian novels require very skilful drafting of stories. Usually, the plot is either very fast paced, as in thrillers or almost non-existent, as in stream of consciousness style novels. Either way, making a story interesting while also confining its time period to one day story is an extremely crafty job. Today, we’ve compiled a list of 10 books in which story take place in single day. The authors have managed to carry this job out with great prowess and artistry.
One Day Story: 10 Books In Which Story Take Place In Single Day
- The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
- Ulysses by James Joyce
- After Dark by Haruki Murakami
- A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
- Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger
- Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk
- Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
- The Hours by Michael Cunningham
- The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
All of Dan Brown’s novels take place over the course of one day – that is his specialty. We chose this novel because it is Brown’s most famous book and also his most interesting work. It follows Robert Langdon, a symbologist on his quest to find the Holy Grail, when a man who has secrets is murdered in the famous Louvre museum. On this quest, several secrets about Christianity, Paganism and secret brotherhoods are revealed. This thriller takes place during one extremely happening night.
Ulysses by James Joyce
Ulysses follows the life of two men over the duration of a day – the 16th of June. The first is Leopard Bloom, a Jewish Dubliner who works in the advertising business. Leonard’s wife has been unfaithful to him, and he has been plagued by its trauma. Stephen Dedalus is an aspiring poet wandering in Dublin, and he meets Leopard by chance. The rest of the novel follows their story. This reimagination of Homer’s Odyssey constructs Ireland within paper and employs the styles of stream of consciousness and interior monologues to complete the effect.
After Dark by Haruki Murakami
This novel, which unfolds between midnight and dawn, follows the life of two sisters, Eri and Mari. However, the ensemble cast features a host of characters who come to life at night – ranging from a Chinese prostitute to the manager of a ‘love hotel,’ a Jazz trombonist and a cruel businessman. Tying magic and realism in his trademark magical realism style, Murakami has crafted a novel full of intrigue and drama, written in a dreamlike fashion.
A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
A highly controversial novel at the time of its release, this follows a middle aged gay man. After the death of his partner, his is grappling with grief, mourning the loss and struggling to come to terms with his new life. This novel follows a day in his life as an Englishman teaching in Southern California. This story is bittersweet, but intensely reflective.
Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger
This novel is a character study of two youngsters in the Glass family – Franny and Zooey. Franny is out on a date with her smart boyfriend Lane. They are an apparently perfect couple but over the course of the date, some issues come to surface. Zooey is Franny’s genius brother, who guides her through some spiritual and existential doubts she is having.
Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk
Arlington Park is an ordinary English suburb – it is replete with gender and social roles, wealth, large houses and amorality. However, laden within this seemingly perfect and peaceful place are several deep rooted disturbances. Over the course of a rainy day, Cusk deftly moves through several households in Arlington Park – exposing these disturbances. We walk through the lives of Juliet, angered by patriarchy, Amanda who is depressed and almost suicidal Solly, who is attracted to her own lodger and Christine, a ghost in the Park.
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
The titular character in this famous classic is Clarissa Dalloway, a high class woman who is preparing to host a dinner party for her Parliament Member husband. The brilliant and introspective novel follows her through her last minute chores, while her mind dwells on other, deeper, faraway issues. At its surface level, it may seem like a portrait of Mrs Dalloway’s ordinary day, but in reality it is an exploration of so many other characters too. Tying all their stories together are the common themes of love, loss, grief and depression.
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
Inspired from Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, this novel follows one day in the life of three different women living in three different time periods. The first is Woolf herself, as she reflects on her novel, Mrs Dalloway. The second is Laura Brown, an expecting housewife in the 1950s who runs away to a local hotel to read Mrs Dalloway. The third is Clarissa “Mrs Dalloway” Vaughn, a book editor who, like her original, plans a party. Except, this time, it’s for her ex-lover Richard who is dying of AIDS.
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
This cute romance follows Natasha Kingsley and Daniel Boe, two high school kids in New York who fall in love unexpectedly in one day. o high school kids in New York who fall in love unexpectedly in one day. However, there’s one problem – Natasha’s family is being deported in twelve hours. As this meet-cute turns into a passionate affair and the threat of separation looms, a story unfurls that will make you fall in love with it.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
This classic tells the story of a fateful Christmas day in the life of Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge is full of avarice and saltiness, who has no excitement about Christmas. However, when the ghost of his business partner suddenly emerges and warns him to change his ways before it’s too late, Scrooge is shaken. An apparent satire on those who refuse to partake in the joyous occasion and spread cheer with family and friends, this one is a must read.
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