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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?
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
Beautiful story & well written, but did not measure up to Starter for Ten or One Day.
Received a copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
I was really excited for the opportunity to read an ARC of David Nicholls' newest novel. US is a beautiful and poignant story of love, marriage, and self-discovery. It's an extremely well written piece, but be warned: it is also a hugely emotional and difficult read to get through. Particularly if you have ever had any kind of marital problems. I often felt like I was overwhelmed by the pain and the emotional aspects of the story, which left me feeling a bit hopeless until about 70% of the way through. I couldn't find the hope and the humor that were so prevalent in Nicholls' other works.
I might be a bit young for the target audience on this one...the author even offered brief rundowns of what this story might have looked like from the son's and wife's perspectives. I probably would have preferred their versions of the story. ;)
I definitely enjoyed this read and I'm glad I saw US through. It's brilliantly written and is told from a fascinating P.O.V. But I personally felt it didn't quite measure up to STARTER FOR TEN or ONE DAY.
Realistic but disappointing
This novel is very well written. It flows effortlessly from beginning to end. It's entertaining, gritty, realistic. However, if you're reading for escapism & prefer a satisfying (i.e. "happy") ending, you may want to skip this one.
What an interesting story and characters! I do love a traditional "happy ending", so this was a bit unexpected to me that I found the ending to be unconventionally happy. Thank you for this excellent read! If made into a movie, I think Hugh Grant would make an excellent Douglas!