Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize
David Nicholls brings the wit and intelligence that graced his enormously popular New York Times bestseller, One Day, to a compellingly human, deftly funny new novel about what holds marriages and families together—and what happens, and what we learn about ourselves, when everything threatens to fall apart.
Douglas Petersen may be mild-mannered, but behind his reserve lies a sense of humor that, against all odds, seduces beautiful Connie into a second date . . . and eventually into marriage. Now, almost three decades after their relationship first blossomed in London, they live more or less happily in the suburbs with their moody seventeen year-old son, Albie. Then Connie tells him she thinks she wants a divorce.
The timing couldn’t be worse. Hoping to encourage her son’s artistic interests, Connie has planned a month-long tour of European capitals, a chance to experience the world’s greatest works of art as a family, and she can’t bring herself to cancel. And maybe going ahead with the original plan is for the best anyway? Douglas is privately convinced that this landmark trip will rekindle the romance in the marriage, and might even help him to bond with Albie.
Narrated from Douglas’s endearingly honest, slyly witty, and at times achingly optimistic point of view, Us is the story of a man trying to rescue his relationship with the woman he loves, and learning how to get closer to a son who’s always felt like a stranger. Us is a moving meditation on the demands of marriage and parenthood, the regrets of abandoning youth for middle age, and the intricate relationship between the heart and the head. And in David Nicholls’s gifted hands, Douglas’s odyssey brings Europe—from the streets of Amsterdam to the famed museums of Paris, from the cafés of Venice to the beaches of Barcelona—to vivid life just as he experiences a powerful awakening of his own. Will this summer be his last as a husband, or the moment when he turns his marriage, and maybe even his whole life, around?
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The author of the runaway bestseller One Day tackles a different, more mature love story in the fantastically moving Us. Nominated for the Man Booker Prize longlist, David Nicholls’ novel starts when 54-year-old Douglas Petersen’s wife of more than two decades announces she’s leaving after their only son, Albie, heads to college in the autumn. Desperate to recapture Connie’s heart, Douglas organizes a grand European vacation, during which he reflects on the past and attempts to mend his relationships with the two most important people in his life. Nicholls’ middle-aged narrator is a triumph: warmhearted, self-deprecating, honest, and dazzlingly human.
In Nicholls's (One Day) latest novel, Connie Peterson wakes her husband Douglas in the middle of the night to tell him she may want to end their marriage. The family already has a European trip planned, the last before their son, Albie, leaves their London suburb for college, and Douglas, ever the scientist, hatches a plan to change Connie's mind: he will ensure their trip becomes an exemplar of the happy family they can be. Working against Douglas is the fact that he and his son have suffered a strained relationship from birth, and that Connie, an artist at heart, believes an organic vacation one that evolves from the whims of any given day would be a great improvement over Douglas's strict, pedantic itineraries. Douglas is an amiably bumbling narrator, and Nicholls convincingly infuses his protagonist's voice with the dry wit and charm that have served the author so well in his previous books. This is Nicholls's most ambitious work to date, and his realistically flawed characters are somehow endearing despite the many bruises they inflict upon each other.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Banal in the extreme
Boring stuff on top of boring stuff. Then, there is no happy ending, only lots of untidy strings with no resolution.
First fiction I've read in the past few years. I really enjoyed the very real life characters and their challenges at being a happy family. Excellent writing.
Poignant and funny
Rarely do I both laugh and tear up almost simultaneously in a book. This did it for me. I really liked it and will now read more of this author