Not a Day Goes By: A Novel

Not a Day Goes By: A Novel

by E. Lynn Harris
4.6 156

NOOK Book(eBook)

$11.99
View All Available Formats & Editions
Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
Want a NOOK ? Explore Now

Overview

Not a Day Goes By: A Novel by E. Lynn Harris

John “Basil” Henderson has always played the field, both as a professional football player and as an equal opportunity lover. After retiring his jersey for a career as a sports agent, the dashing playboy is surprising everyone—including himself—by deciding to settle down and commit to his new love, Yancey Harrington Braxton. A fiercely driven Broadway star on the rise, blessed with beauty, charm, and a fondness for the finer things in life, she appears to be his ideal mate. A lavish wedding is planned, but just before the nuptials, fate and a little comeuppance threaten the happy couple’s future.

Charged with narrative exuberance and sumptuous detail, Not a Day Goes By proves that nobody spins a sexy urban love story like E. Lynn Harris.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307427038
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/18/2007
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 647,741
File size: 339 KB

About the Author

E. Lynn Harris is a former computer sales executive with IBM and a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He self-published Invisible Life, with great success. It went on to become a Blackboard bestseller and a 1996 ABA Blackboard List Outstanding African American Novel Nominee. In 1996, Just As I Am was awarded the Novel of the Year Prize by Blackboard African-American Bestsellers, Inc. If This World Were Mine was a finalist for the 1997 NAACP Image Award and winner of the James Baldwin Award for Literary Excellence.


From the Paperback edition.

Hometown:

Chicago, Illinois

Date of Birth:

June 20, 1955

Date of Death:

July 23, 2009

Place of Birth:

Flint, Michigan

Place of Death:

Los Angeles, California

Education:

B.A. in journalism, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, 1977

Read an Excerpt

September, 1999

My lady, Yancey, changed my life. Sometimes I think she saved my life. My name is John Basil Henderson and I guess I'm what you call a former bad boy. I was the kind of dude who was getting so much play, I needed to buy condoms by the barrel. About two years ago, all that changed when I met Yancey Harrington Braxton the day before Christmas at Rockefeller Center while skating with my five-year-old nephew, Cade. Yancey walked right up and started a conversation while flirting with both Cade and myself. I loved her confidence. We were both smitten at her first hello. Yancey is, as the young dudes would say, a "dime piece" ... a perfect ten.

When I met Yancey I was in the midst of a pre-midlife crisis. I had just turned thirty-three and my childhood dream of playing pro football was already over. Wasn't shit going right for me. I was actually seeing a shrink, trying to figure out why I had such disdain for both men and women while, at times, being sexually attracted to both. I was spending too much time trying to get even with this mofo, Raymond Tyler who didn't even know how strongly I felt about him. For me, Raymond stood on that thin line between love and hate. There were so many things I liked--no, loved--about him, but I also hated feeling that way toward any man. It just wasn't right.

I had gone to the doctor to face my past--a past that included my sexual molestation by a much beloved uncle. I wrote that no good mofo a letter telling him how he had screwed up my life with his sick ass, but the mofo died before I could mail it. I was surprised at how writing shit down and talking out loud about how I was feeling helped me. But the good doctor wasn't excited about my relationship with Yancey, and when I disagreed, we parted ways. It wasn't as if he said, "If you continue in the relationship I can no longer see you, Mr. Henderson." I just stopped going and he never called to see if I was okay. I guess he didn't need the money.

There have been times in my life that were so painful that I didn't think I could share them with another living soul, but then that person walks into your life, and you don't know whether to be afraid or feel relief. You don't know whether to be afraid or feel relief. You don't know whether to run or stand still, That was the way I felt about meeting Yancey. When I told her how my father had raised me to believe that my mother was dead, which I later found out was a total lie, Yancey held me tight and I felt her tears on my naked shoulder. At times I feel as though I could tell her anything, and then I remember she is a woman and wouldn't understand some of the things I have been through and done. So, despite my bone-deep love for Yancey, I've kept some secrets about myself she just wouldn't understand.

My love for Yancey hit me hard. I guess that's the way real love works. I love the way she makes me feel like I'm the only man in a roomful of thousands. I love the way other men and women look at us when we walk hand in hand into some of New York's finest restaurants and nightclubs, or during our simple walks through Central Park. I love watching her perform on the Broadway stage and in cabarets, where Yancey charms both owners and patrons. I love the sound of her singing, not only on the stage but in the bathroom, while she sits at her vanity and brushes her hair.

But one of the things I love the most about Yancey is that she reminds me of myself. I guess both of us have taken so much shit from our families that we don't too kindly to outsiders. We are each other's best friend. To the outside world we're the diva and the dawg, but not with each other. Once I took her to Athens, Georgia, for a college football game. After the game we went to a sports bar for beer and chicken wings. The redheaded waitress with colossal breasts was diggin' me. When she served us, ole girl bent down so low I could smell her deodorant. Yancey definitely took note. So when the waitress did one more dip and looked me directly in the eyes and asked, "Can I git anything else for y'all?" Yancey stood up and said, "Yes, you can git them fake titties out of my man's face." That's my Yancey. Another time, shortly after we first started dating and I was still keeping a few freaks on the side, Yancey came over to spend the night. I came out of the shower expecting to see her lying in my bed wearing something sexy but she was fully dressed. When I asked her what was up, she told me, "I don't sleep in no bed where I can smell another woman's perfume or pussy." I got the message.

I had a gig doing sportscasting for a network, and when I became fed up with the way they were treating me, Yancey convinced me that I could do better. As we talked one evening while enjoying a late supper, I realized I wanted a business that combined my love for sports and making money. A couple of weeks later a former teammate called me looking for additional capital to expand his small sports management agency. I hadn't heard from Brison Tucker since the night the two of us went out and got messed up big time after we were both chosen in the first round of the NFL draft. Brison was injured after four years in the league, and had spent several years working in Canada as a scout. A couple of long dinners and months later, I was no longer a talking head at ESPN doing second-rate college games but a partner of XJI (X Jocks Inc.) one of the fastest-growing sports agencies in the country, with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, with over thirty employees. The agency is looking to add another partner and open offices in Chicago and Los Angeles.

Joining the XJI was the right move at the right time. I had made some decent money with Internet stocks and was looking for another investment. Instead of just handing over money, I joined the firm as a partner. This year alone, XJI has six potential number-one picks in the upcoming NFL draft as well as four NBA lottery picks. I personally signed three of the players. The agency also has a couple of NBA superstars who left their white agents and signed with us, as well as a couple of WNBA players and some track and field hardheads. I love what I do and I've rekindled some old friendships with my partners and made new friends with some of the players I represent. I feel a certain power when I make big-money deals for my clients, especially since the money is coming from wealthy owners who view the players as possessions. If these rich mofos want to play with my players, then I make sure they pay major benjamins.

As for me, myself, and I? We're rollin' like a bowling ball! I recently purchased a penthouse loft on Lafayette Street with twenty-six-foot-high ceilings and wood-burning fireplaces in both the living room and the master bedroom. I got a closetful of finely tailored suits and I could go months without wearing the same pair of draws or socks. Yancey and I take vacations in places like Jamaica, Fisher Island, and Paris whenever New York becomes too much of a grind. I'm doing better than I ever did when I was playing professional football.

Still, the biggest change in my life is the way I feel about women. With the love of Yancey and my sister, Campbell, I have come to view women differently for the very first time. I didn't know I had a sister until two years ago, just before I met Yancey. Turns out my mom had remarried and on her deathbed told Campbell she had a brother. She tracked me down, and suddenly I had two new women in my life. Before, I'd never have let women get that close to me.

In Campbell I see a woman determined to give her son, Cade, and husband, Hewitt, the best she has to offer. Sometimes I just like to watch her with Cade, feeding him french fries or making sure his coat is buttoned up before he goes out into the cold. I love the way she smiles and hugs him whenever he comes into a room, even when he's only been gone for a short time.

There was a time in my life when I had a lot of anger toward women. I put them in two categories: whores and sluts. The only difference is, a whore gives up the sex because she wants something material, whereas a slut just loves the sex. I have been with both, but I didn't like the power pussy had over me. Maybe my anger toward women happened because I grew up without a mother, or because I simply hadn't met the right woman. Now, thanks to Yancey and Campbell, I no longer view them as a resting place for my manhood but a place where I can rest my heart. Now don't get me wrong, I ain't whipped and I'm not ready for the choir robe and halo, I still got my tough-guy-swagger (when needed). The only difference between two years ago and today is I realize that a tough-guy swagger looks just as


From the Paperback edition.

Reading Group Guide

1. Why does Harris reveal the climax of the romance between Basil and Yancey in the very first chapter? How do his descriptions of Basil's and Yancey's behavior set the stage for the story that follows?

2. Is Basil's explanation of why he loves Yancey [p. 8] a convincing expression of what constitutes real love? Does his need to conceal parts of his past undermine the sincerity of his feelings for Yancey? How do his secrets compare to the secrets many lovers choose to keep from one another?

3. "Yancey loved Basil in her own way" [p. 16], Harris writes. How does Yancey's approach to love differ from Basil's? Is the compromise she makes ("It's okay to love, but never too hard, or too much" [pg. 16]) an inevitable outcome of her own upbringing? In what ways are the other things Yancey does "in her own way"--for example, sending autographed pictures rather than attending her high school reunion and refusing to work ordinary jobs to earn money [p. 13]--also a legacy of her childhood?

4. Why does Harris include "Basil's Rules to Keep the Knuckleheads Away from the Family Jewels" [pp. 21-22]? Does Basil take these rules seriously, or is he indulging in a bit of self-parody?

5. Windsor's personality and the life she leads contrast sharply with Yancey's. Are Yancey's reasons for giving Windsor a room only financial, or does Windsor offer other things Yancey wants, either consciously or subconsciously? What incidents show that Yancey needs Windsor more than she admits?

6. Basil describes the evenings he spends with his sister, Campbell, and her family as "a time when I could let my guarddown" [p. 62]. Why is he more comfortable in his role as loving brother and uncle than he is as Yancey's lover or as a partner in the agency? Does his behavior with Campbell and Cade represent the man he really is?

7. What are the implications of Yancey's demand for a part on Sex and the City [p. 67]? Is the media guilty of perpetuating outdated ideas about race? Yancey believes that lighter-skinned African American women have an advantage in society in general and in the theater in particular. Does the way she looks and defines herself [p. 12] play into a prejudice she herself finds offensive?

8. The debate within XJI about hiring an openly gay partner also focuses on a current controversy. Is the upcoming magazine article the only reason Zurich finds it necessary to reveal his sexual orientation? What does Basil hope to accomplish by seeing Zurich alone after the meeting at XJI?

9. Confused about their sexuality, both Milo and Zurich sought help from their ministers, and in both cases, they were advised to get married [pp. 129-30]. Given the teachings of most churches about homosexuality, could their ministers have behaved differently?

10. Beyond the initial shock, how would you characterize Yancey's reaction to Derrick's revelation about their child? After his refusal to marry her, does Derrick's decision about their child represent a further betrayal of Yancey, or was he simply "doing the right thing"? What were his motives in keeping Madison's existence a secret from Yancey for so many years? What are his motives in asking her to become involved now if he doesn't love her?

11. At the beginning of the book, Basil says, "For me, Raymond stood on that thin line between love and hate" [p. 7], yet he asks Raymond to participate in his wedding. What light does his conversation with Raymond [p. 176] shed on Basil's state of mind on the eve of his marriage?

12. Ava's negative influence on Yancey is one of the major threads in the book. Does Ava have any real maternal affection for her daughter? Has she helped Yancey develop any admirable characteristics?

13. Basil and Yancey eventually discover each other's secrets through methods most people would consider highly unethical. Is the end result justified by the method of discovery? Both of them express anger, a sense of hurt and betrayal, and a desire for revenge in response to the information they uncover. Whose reaction do you find more sympathetic and why?

14. Basil's side of the story is told in his own voice, while Yancey's is presented through a third person narrative. How does this affect your impressions of each of them? Does it, perhaps unfairly, make you more sympathetic to Basil? Do you think Yancey's point of view is adequately captured? How might her own narrative differ from the third person account? From Basil's account?

15. If you have read Abide with Me, discuss the ways in which Basil differs from the person he was in that book. Both Basil and Yancey are complicated figures, sometimes arousing the reader's anger and outrage, sometimes eliciting strong feelings of sympathy. To what extent do they create trouble for themselves, and to what extent are they victims of other people, their backgrounds, or society in general? At the end of the book, have your feelings about Basil and Yancey changed from your first impressions? What purpose does the epilogue serve?

16. Harris uses a familiar phrase as his title. What words would complete the phrase to sum up Basil's and Yancey's individual views of the world?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Not a Day Goes By 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 154 reviews.
Calla_Lillie More than 1 year ago
It has been years since I first read 'a love of my own' so I was excited to see what trouble Yancey gets herself into. This installation gave good insight into the characters without giving way too much. It seemed more of a teaser novel than a juicy loosie. I ended the book wanting more...that's a good and bad thing. Since I'm not sure of the sequence of the novels I can say that out of the two the first was better. E. Lynn was a great author who inspired me to seek better for myself. I was truly saddened when I found out of his passing.
Demetra McNair More than 1 year ago
I read the last book in this series first and had to go back and start a the beginning to get to know the characters. I was not diappointed!
MzChelle More than 1 year ago
Oh no he didn't is what I was saying at the end of the book about Basil one of the main charecters. This is an interesting read and a page turner. I would suggest this for a book group of E. Lynn Harris fans because there is continuation and I can't wait to see what's next. This will be some good dialoge guaranteed! Basil don't know what he wants a man or woman and I like that there were some characters there to challange him on it. And Yancey is understandable in her diva ways when the book introduces her mother. I would recommend this book and it's staying on my shelf for sure. Only thing I didn't like at the end is how Basil blamed Yancey for what happened. I can't tell you the story, it's so good you'll have to read it for yourself
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love E. Lynn Harris books...they keep you wanting more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my 3rd time reading this book and its a page turner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago