Us (Paperback)

A Novel

By David Nicholls

Harper Paperbacks, 9780062365590, 416pp.

Publication Date: June 30, 2015

List Price: 15.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

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?



Praise For Us: A Novel

“The Petersen family travels through Europe with more emotional baggage than luggage in Nicholls’s winning follow-up to his 2009 bestseller One Day….Few authors do messed-up relationships better than Nicholls.”

“Nicholls is a deft craftsman, a skilled storyteller and a keen observer of contemporary mores.”

“In his latest…Mr. Nicholls again deals with love lost and possibly found, offering an unpredictable (and less grim) ending…. Mr. Nicholls mines the setup for laughs, as he should, but he also provides a poignant story of regret in middle age.”

“A great novel...Nicholls is a master of nuanced relationships. He’s also a pro at delivering a tight, clever structural narrative, as he proved in his terrific previous novel One Day.”

“I loved this book. Funny, sad, tender: for anyone who wants to know what happens after the Happy Ever After.”

“Wonderful. A novel that manages to be both truly hilarious and deeply affecting. I loved it.”

“Nicholls is a delightfully funny writer…and this over-planned vacation makes ripe material for comedy…Us evolves into a poignant consideration of how a marriage ages, how parents mess up and what survives despite all those challenges.”

“A smartly optimistic romantic comedy that uses angst and humor to illuminate the resilience of the human heart… Part requiem, part reboot, Douglas’s...efforts to preserve his disintegrating family take him on another kind of journey, too, from despair to unexpected joy.”

“A thoughtful, funny, authentic story…Pitch-perfect dialogue and seamless action propel the story forward in a way that feels cinematic.…This is the kind of book that reminds us what it means to be alive. How often does a reader get to feel that?”

“But for all of their burdens and battles, Douglas and Connie have moments of real joy in their marriage and while it doesn’t always seem like a pleasure, reading about it sure is.”

Us is a quick read but a charming one; a portrait of two journeys—one measured in kilometers, the other in the heart.”

“What happens when domestic bliss becomes rote? Is the past strong enough to bind us together when it happens? Nicholls’ answer is complicated, poignant, wise—and disarmingly human.”

“It’s a great combination of laughs and heart…Just what you need on these too-short days, no?”

“David Nicholls’s latest… is a smartly optimistic romantic comedy that uses angst and humor to illuminate the resilience of the human heart…. Part requiem, part reboot, Douglas’s endearingly inept efforts to preserve his disintegrating family take him on another kind of journey, too, from despair to unexpected joy.”

“From the author of One Day—which was infinitely better than the movie—comes a pathos-laden love story about marriage on the brink of collapse.”

“The bestselling author of One Day…is back with another crowd-pleaser, this time about a man trying to save his collapsing marriage and connect with his teenage son during a family tour of Europe.”

“Complex family drama...perfect read for the holidays!”

“A smartly optimistic romantic comedy that uses angst and humor to illuminate the resilience of the human heart.”

“Nicholls is a master of the braided narrative, weaving the past and present to create an intricate whole…. A funny and moving novel.”

“Nicholls brings his trademark wit and wisdom to this by turns hilarious and heartbreaking examination of a long-term marriage…. This tender novel will further cement Nicholls’ reputation as a master of romantic comedy.”

“For those who loved One Day, the author’s latest is another heart-grabber about discovering what makes us happy and learning to let go.”

“Liked One Day? Then you’ll find this absolutely fabulous.… Very funny and very moving, often at the same time.”


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  1. Describe Douglas, Connie and Albie and their family dynamic. What draws Douglas and Connie together? What drives them apart? How has their marriage evolved over the years and how does it affect their family life and their son?generic viagra price canada
  2. This novel is about marriage—not just a boy-meets-girl romance. What does the author tell us about the Happily Ever After part? How does “real life” compare with our romanticized notions? Do spouses have a responsibility to keep the spark alive after the honeymoon stage?generic viagra price canada
  3. How important is it for a person to stay true to their individuality? How do we reconcile individuality within relationships and families?generic viagra price canada
  4. Travel is a major component of this novel. How does being physically away from home affect the characters? What opportunities does traveling offer them? What emotional challenges does it raise?generic viagra price canada
  5. How does Douglas cope when his “Grand Tour” plans aren’t working out? How does he adjust over the course of his journey?generic viagra price canada
  6. The parent-child relationship can be as frustrating as it is rewarding. What are the particular sources of turmoil in the relationship between Douglas and Albie? What helps them resolve their differences?generic viagra price canada
  7. How does an instant-gratification culture affect our ability to work through tough times? Do people give up on relationships too easily? What about Douglas and Connie? What about Albie?generic viagra price canada
  8. The meaning of love can change over the course of a relationship. Describe Douglas’ love for Connie and Albie. Compare and contrast the novel’s beginning to its end. How have the characters changed? Stayed the same? What have they learned?generic viagra price canada
  9. Each section begins with a quote. What do the quotes add to each section? What do they add to the story as a whole? Which quote struck you the most? Why?generic viagra price canada
  10. Between the “Grand Tour,” Connie’s painting and Albie’s photography, art is at the very center of Us. How does art affect the characters? How does art affect our lives?generic viagra price canada
  11. The novel is called Us. Is there really an “Us” in the story? If yes, who? If no, what inspired the title?generic viagra price canada