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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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062420374
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/01/2015
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 0.00(w) x 0.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

David Nicholls's most recent novel, the New York Times bestseller One Day, has sold more than two million copies and has been translated into thirty-seven languages; the film adaptation starred Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway. Nicholls's previous novels include Starter for Ten and The Understudy. He trained as an actor before making the switch to writing and has twice been nominated for BAFTA awards.

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Us 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hate giving a book a poor review when my complaint's with the "reviews" themselves. When is your company going to get these kids to stop using your review page as a chat room. I need a legitimate review to help me determine if I want to purchase a book. I've called your company about this but, I can see, to no avail. Get your act together B & N and get these kids off of here!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Out of 27 reviews, 21 are by children. You need to stop this.
SoCal_Reader More than 1 year ago
Don't let this lovely story slip through the cracks.  It is carefully crafted and charged with emotion, humor and insight.  Read it and share it.
Chrissy_W More than 1 year ago
Did I enjoy this book: I loved it. I may have spent the weekend annoying my sisters by interrupting their manicures with quotes every few minutes . . . I hope they’ll forgive me.  *grin* Nicholls is, quite simply, a wonderful writer. His characters are so realistically written that, though I wanted to be firmly on the “Douglas was wronged” side of things, I found myself switching camps more than once. I don’t want to blather on about how well Mr. Nicholls writes “the human condition” or anything, but geez-o-man, he does. He really does.   Would I recommend it: If you’ve just gone through a split, I’d shelve it for a bit, but otherwise yes, absolutely. As reviewed by Melissa at Every Free Chance Books.  Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
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
COBauer More than 1 year ago
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.
Valerian70 More than 1 year ago
I was looking forward to this book as I really enjoyed One Day, The Understudy and Starter For Ten. It seems though that this anticipation may have ruined my enjoyment of the book as I found it all a little bit flat and ploddy. I expect rich characters from Mr Nicholls with varied facets to their characters but the people populating Us were pretty much one dimensional. So much so I have just had to go back and remind myself of their names as I just could not bring them to mind. It is clear from the start that Douglas and Connie are very, very different people. It is not just the fact that he is all about Science and she is all about Art, they are just such different personality types so when Connie wakes him in the early hours one morning to say she isn't sure about their marriage it comes as no real surprise. There is also the lingering feeling that it is partly engendered by good old Empty Nest Syndrome as Albie is due to start College (should this not have been University?) that Autumn. Despite Connie's pronouncement they decide to continue with their planned month long tour of Europe, their Grand Tour and see if they can save their marriage. The story itself is told from Douglas's point of view and I did find myself empathising with him. The itinerary for the holiday made me laugh as this is something we always used to do and that was just for a week in Scarborough never mind a month visiting Paris, Amsterdam and many other points. The flashbacks to the early days of their relationship are slotted seamlessly in to the tale and Douglas's narration is suitably wry and knowing - he can see the warning signs as well as we can. There is a nice gentle, dry wit throughout the book but something intangible is missing. As we learn more about the relationship between Douglas and Connie you can see that Douglas has never really known his wife and so she is almost a caricature of the zany artist and then the hausfrau on the page. I appreciate that this is due to the author's craft as we only ever know Douglas's viewpoint but it just frustrated me and felt unbalanced. The treatment of the teenage Albie is fleeting but he feels terribly precocious for a 17 year old boy, more like a 21 or 22 year old who has had the 3 years of living away from home whilst at University to mould and harden them. The European settings are fresh and vibrant and actually made me want to consider getting a passport; well, for about 10 minutes after I finished the book and then I remembered how much I hate travelling for more than an hour. The book does dip it's toe in to farce quite frequently with disastrous hotel bookings, left luggage and bizarre encounters. Maybe this was my real issue with the book as farce just doesn't do "it" for me. Overall I came away disappointed in the book as it does not have the richness of character or location that the 3 other novels I have read by this author have.
Mirdy More than 1 year ago
Rich, heartwarming, and well written, A beautiful story from a man's point of view of marriage, love, parenthood, lust, and life. One of my favorite lines "I thought we were going to die old together", a line we have all heard countless times whether we have found our soulmate or not, was so raw and realistic, but yet humorous. Its not your typical love story garnished with sparkle, but the stories within here are not only witty and entertaining but relocatable. I loved this novel, and recommend to anyone who may be experiencing similar challenges in their own marriages...its our humor that will save us.
eReeder More than 1 year ago
The main character is too self important. At first I thought it was a modern telling of Catcher in the Rye, with an unreliable narrator, but I realized he was just fumbling through, trying to figure out why he was so difficult to like. I thought the end, for the three main characters, was a cop-out. It felt unresolved and unsatisfying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the Brit phrases but certainly never had to pause to think
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story is one of my 3 favorites of this year, and I read 2 to 3 books a week. I loved everything about this book. It is a very realistic portrayal of a typical family and the complicated and messy feelings and dynamics between individuals. I especially liked Douglas, because he tried so hard to see his wife and son's points of view. I loved travelling with them throughout Europe, experiencing art museums, restaurants, hotels, train travel...I'm a little bummed about the ending, except that the last sentence of the book cheered me up. I highly recommend this book as it is very very well written.
PierresFamily More than 1 year ago
Us is the story of the relationships in a family. Nicholl switches back and forth continually, between the beginning of the relationship and the present, but it isn't confusing, because he delineates it in separate sections. The characters are very well-developed, and he does a thorough job of covering their lives together. Also, I did enjoy the armchair travel. However, I was disappointed in the book's too-easy ending, and won't be reading anything else by him.
karenb15KB More than 1 year ago
The story dragged out entirely too long.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A delightful story. I laughed, I cried.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
books4gail More than 1 year ago
Lovely tale of a relationship that may have run its course. I agree with another reviewer, not nearly as special as One Day, but shares a tone and themes of the complexities of life.
doc51248 More than 1 year ago
A great relationship story that takes place in contemporary England. I like how it jumps back and forth from the present to the beginnings of the relationship.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a grate book me and my friends would all read it and had a good time laughing at the funny stuff
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not get into this book. I do not like books giving only the perspective of the narrator.
Honolulubelle More than 1 year ago
Cleverly written and deeply amusing Favorite Quotes: “’Now that Albie’s leaving, I want to feel this is the beginning of something new, not the beginning of the end.’  The beginning of the end.   Was she still talking about me?  She made me sound like some kind of apocalypse.” “Albie was standing in the doorway, wrapped in the hotel dressing gown, demonstrating that unique ability he has to shower for twenty minutes and still look dirty.” “… it was explained by a Dr. Yolanda Jimenez, in good, clear English, that I would be subject to an operation.  Immediately I imagined the buzzing of surgical saws and my rib-cage being cracked open like a lobster shell, but the doctor explained that the procedure would be more localized than that.  A tube would be inserted into my thigh under local anaesthetic, passing somewhat improbably all the way up into my heart, allowing the artery to be widened and stent to be left in its place.  I pictured pipe-cleaners, dental floss, an unraveled wire coat hanger.” “Clearly the key to having a long and successful marriage would be to have a non-lethal heart attack every three months or so for the next forty years.  If I could pull off that trick, then we might just be all right.”   My Review: I laughed aloud several times while reading this smartly written, wickedly funny, and clever tome. The writing was crisp and intelligent, and hidden humor crackled on the pages.  I think I wore an amused smile during the 85% of the reading, and while I frequently chuckled, I also felt my breath hitch in my throat and experienced an odd stinging in my eyes during several of his more poignant and heartbreaking revelations.  There were many rather embarrassing remembrances that seldom put the main character in a good light, yet were more often than not, perfectly balanced by the horrendous behavior the other parties were also putting on display.  Artfully written, unflinchingly insightful, totally enchanting, humorous yet painfully honest in describing his contentious, self-effacing, and unpleasant family encounters.  While reading, I couldn’t help wanting the best for him, but also knowing that may not be the same outcome the character was striving for.