Diary of an Interesting Year

 This study guide will help you analyse the text “Diary of an Interesting Year” by Helen Simpson. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on the summary, structure, characters, setting, narrator and point of view, language, theme and message.

Presentation of the text

Title: “Diary of an Interesting Year”
Author: Helen Simpson
Date of Publication: 2009
Genre: Short story

Helen Simpson (b. 1957) is an English short story writer and novelist. Her collections of short stories have won multiple awards. In 2011, Simpson has won the O. Henry Award for the short story “Diary of an Interesting Year”.


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The title of the story marks the events that take place during the year 2040. The narrator marks these events in her diary, from the month of February until November, when she gets to the last page of the notebook she is writing in. As a consequence, the title mirrors the narrator’s diary and lets readers know what they are going to read.

However, the title can also be interpreted as an ironic name given for a year which is full of events. For the narrator, the year 2040 is traumatic and dramatic, so it seems a bit ironic and odd to simply call the year “interesting”. This might also be connected to the narrator’s passiveness regarding what happens to her. There is a sense that the narrator is deliberately underplaying the horror of the events...



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Diary of an Interesting Year

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