Publisher: Harper (October 28, 2014)
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?
Douglas and his wife Connie will soon be empty nesters since their son Albie is seventten yrs. old. He’s looking foward to that time. Then his wife lets him know she wants a divorce, and even though he knows they’ve had periods of trouble since the beginning and that they aren’t as close as they once were, it still knocks him for a loop.
The family has a vacation to the capitals of Europe planned, and Douglas thinks this is a good chance to make sure the three of them reconnect and put thoughts of divorce out of Connie’s head.
What follows is a very funny, sometimes serious account of what Douglas does to bring the three of them back together, and how Connie and Albie react.
Douglas is my favorite character. He’s nerdy in a good way and is a very structured person. He loves Connie so much and tries so hard to make her feelings for him grow. He loves his son and is battling with the way their relationship has become almost non existent.
Connie on the other hand, is free spirited, and complete opposite of Douglas. She rubbed me the wrong way a lot. She mostly cares about herself, and only wants what she wants and deserves, and that doesn’t always include Douglas.
Albie is a teen to the extreme. He takes more after Connie much to Douglas’s dismay. He loves Albie so much, and hates that their relationship is strained to the point of being almost non existent, except for the conflict. Like Connie, Albie rubbed me the wrong way a lot too.
There is so much going on in this story that it will keep you engrossed and you won’t want to put it down. It was a roller coaster of relationship woes, deternination, loyalty, rebellion and laughs! The characters were full bodied and the story was entertaining.
This was my first try at a Nicholls book, but it won’t be my last. I love the way he writes and draws you into the lives of his characters. I’d definitely recommend this book!
About The Author:
David Nicholls’s most recent novel, the New York Times bestseller One Day, has sold over 2 million copies and been translated into thirty-seven languages; he also wrote the screenplay for the 2010 film adaptation starring Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway.
Trained as an actor before making the switch to writing, Nicholls’s previous novels include Starter for Ten (originally published in the U.S. as A Question of Attraction), adapted into a film starring James McAvoy, for which Nicholls also wrote the screenplay; and The Understudy. He continues to write for film and TV as well as writing novels and adapting them for the screen, and has twice been nominated for the BAFTA awards. He lives in London with his wife and two children.