The Man Booker Prize-longlisted follow-up to the multimillion-copy bestselling ONE DAY, soon to be a major BBC drama starring Tom Hollander and Saskia Reeve.
SOON TO BE A MAJOR BBC DRAMA STARRING TOM HOLLANDER AND SASKIA REEVE
David Nicholls brings to bear all the wit and intelligence that graced ONE DAY in this brilliant, bittersweet novel about love and family, husbands and wives, parents and children.
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2014.
Douglas Petersen understands his wife's need to 'rediscover herself' now that their son is leaving home.
He just thought they'd be doing their rediscovering together.
So when Connie announces that she will be leaving, too, he resolves to make their last family holiday into the trip of a lifetime: one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son. One that will make Connie fall in love with him all over again.
The hotels are booked, the tickets bought, the itinerary planned and printed.
What could possibly go wrong?
Even better than ONE DAY. - The Times
A wrenching examination of a journey through Europe that goes terribly wrong and a consideration of what it means to be a parent today. - Guardian
I loved this book. Funny, sad, tender: for anyone who wants to know what happens after the Happy Ever After. - Jojo Moyes
Those who loved Nicholls's last novel, ONE DAY, will not be disappointed. US has many of the same qualities, including an almost magical readability. Though it is an ambitious novel, intricately patterned, which tackles complex and subtle themes, it has the furious pace of a thriller. Each time I put the book down, I stared in disbelief at the number of pages I had just covered; by the end, I was having to ration myself for fear of coming to the end too soon. - Mail on Sunday
A wrenching examination of a journey through Europe that goes terribly wrong and a consideration of what it means to be a parent today. - Philip Hensher, Guardian
As many emotions as air miles - Damian Barr, Observer
US is a perfect book. - Independent
An emotive romantic comedy, ingeniously structured. - Evening Standard
Us is the fourth novel by British author, screenwriter, and actor, David Nicholls. With his seventeen-year-old son, Albie soon to head off to college to study photography, Douglas Petersen is looking forward to growing old with his beloved, beautiful and artistic wife of some twenty years, Connie. Unfortunately, Connie has other plans, intending to “rediscover herself” without Douglas, something that hits him hard (“It was like trying to go about my business with an axe embedded in my skull”). But before that happens, they have a final summer holiday to share: their Grand Tour of Europe, which will take in as much art and culture as they can cram into a month, a holiday meticulously planned by Douglas, a biochemist whose appreciation of art has been taught to him by Connie. Douglas is hoping this wonderful vacation can repair his relationship with his son, remind Connie of all that was so great about their marriage and thus change her mind about leaving him. The narrative alternates between the vacation and the memories of life from when Douglas first met and fell in love with Connie. Love, before Connie (b.c.), had been “a condition whose symptoms were insomnia, dizziness and confusion followed by depression and a broken heart”. After Connie (a.c.), life was altogether better: “I was familiar with the notion of alternative realities, but was not used to occupying the one I liked best.” As the holiday progresses (not quite according to plan), he reviews in his mind past incidents of family life, and in retrospect, develops an uncomfortable insight into his words and deeds, an insight that was, unfortunately, lacking at the time. He begins to realise that his “huge amount of care, an ocean of it” was perceived by others as narrow-mindedness, conservatism or caution; he begins to understand Connie’s accusation that “you can really suck the joy out of pretty much anything these days, can’t you?” This novel is populated by characters that will feel familiar: most of us know a Douglas, well-meaning but almost completely incapable of spontaneity; Connie, beautiful, enigmatic and charming; Albie, filled with teenaged scorn for adult conservatism; the Petersen parents, repressed and disapproving (“Alcohol loosened inhibitions, and inhibitions were worn tight here”); Kat, rebellious and determined to shock. The plot is original and certainly takes a few unanticipated turns, a bit like the Petersen’s vacation: buskers, angry bikers, Carabinieri, an Amsterdam prostitute, undersized Speedos, a night in a jail cell and jellyfish were not expected to feature. Nicholls gives the reader words of wisdom that elicit nodding agreement, lines that will cause smiles, groans and, in fact lots of laugh-out-loud moments, but he also causes the eyes to well up on several occasions. Nicholls treats the reader to some marvellous turns of phrase: “I had sweated feverishly in the night, the bedding now damp enough to propagate cress” and “together we had the grace of a three-legged dog, hobbling from place to place” are just two examples. Another brilliant Nicholls offering! With thanks to TheReadingRoom and Hachette for my copy to read and review
David Nicholls is the bestselling author of Us, One Day, The Understudy and Starter for Ten. His novels have sold over eight million copies worldwide and are published in forty languages.
David trained as an actor before making the switch to writing. He is an award-winning screenwriter, with TV credits including the third series of Cold Feet, a much-praised modern version of Much Ado About Nothing, The 7.39 and an adaptation of Tess of the D'Urbervilles. David wrote the screenplays for Great Expectations (2012) and Far from the Madding Crowd (2015, starring Carey Mulligan). He recently won a BAFTA for Patrick Melrose, his adaptation of the novels by Edward St Aubyn, which also won him an Emmy nomination.
His bestselling first novel, Starter for Ten, was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club in 2004, and in 2006 David went on to write the screenplay of the film version.
His third novel, One Day, was published in 2009 to extraordinary critical acclaim, and stayed in the Sunday Times top ten bestseller list for ten weeks on publication. One Day won the 2010 Galaxy Book of the Year Award.
David's fourth novel, Us, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2014 and was another no. 1 Sunday Times bestseller. In the same year he was named Author of the Year at the National Book Awards.