In Office Hours by Lucy Kellaway

In Office Hours

Lucy Kellaway

Different ages but two sides of a spinning coin Bella's and Stella's lives bubble and fizzle as they drink champagne in London. The spinning slows down still giving out flashes of light.


Slowly they started to round the circle. One man had brought his child's first tooth. Men can get away with slushy display of parental love, Bella thought, but women cannot. Ben had brought the key to his motorbike, which was cheating, as everyone knew he rode it. Most of the other men brought something to do with sport. Four of them produced golf balls, leading to a lively discussion of handicaps, which Jay had to silence. There were only two other women in the group; one produced a book of travel writing about the places she hoped to visit when she had more time - a gratuitous reference to how hard she worked. The other brought a swimming hat, and told the team the not especially interesting detail that she went swimming twice a week. Bella waited for her turn with growing dread. She realized that she had misunderstood the exercise: the aim wasn't to bring along something surprising but to bring along something safe that didn't say anything about you at all. Bella looked at the three things in her lap.

  • She may not leave by Fay Weldon
  • Melinda and Melinda by Woody Allen

Books with similar mood

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Rachel Joyce

Buddha Da

Anne Donovan

Almost English

Charlotte Mendelson

The Pocket Guide to Being an Indian Girl

B K Mahal

Some Kind of Hero

Donna Hay

The Freedom Thing

Phil Hogan

In Real Life

Chris Killen

The Restoration of Otto Laird

Nigel Packer

Short Girls

Bich Minh Nguyen

Love and Other Impossible Pursuits

Ayelet Waldman


Christopher Nicholson

The Following Girls

Louise Lavene

Terms & Conditions

Robert Glancy

The Ask

Sam Lipsyte

The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai

Ruiyan Xu

The Eyrie

Stevie Davies

For Matrimonial Purposes

Kavita Daswani

According to Queeney

Beryl Bainbridge

The Travelers

Regina Porter

All Grown Up

Jami Attenberg

The News Where You Are

Catherine O'Flynn

When We Were Romans

Matthew Kneale

The Believers

Zoe Heller

Deaf Sentence

David Lodge

That They May Face The Rising Sun

John McGahern


Jemma Kennedy

Perfect Alibis

Jane Wenham-Jones

Tears of the Giraffe

Alexander McCall Smith

Fasting, Feasting

Anita Desai

Gringo Soup

John Aspinall

The Flight of the Maidens

Jane Gardam


James Delingpole

Whispers Through a Megaphone

Rachel Elliot

Sworn Virgin

Elvira Dones

Marriage Material

Sathnam Sanghera

The Book of Lies

Mary Horlock

The Good Psychologist

Noam Shpancer

The Free and Easy

Anne Haverty

Loving Him

Kate O'Riordan

Treading Water

Claire Collison

Dinner for Two

Mike Gayle

Bread Alone

Judi Hendricks

Green Man Running

Georgina Hammick

Let's Twist Again

Leo Cullen


Candace Carty-Williams

Take Nothing With You

Patrick Gale

An Unremarkable Body

Elisa Lodato

The Last Kings of Sark

Rosa Rankin-Gee

My Former Heart

Cressida Connolly