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4.0 25
by David Nicholls

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David Nicholls brings the wit and intelligence that graced his enormously popular New York Times bestseller One Day to a compelling, deftly humorous new novel about what holds marriages and families together—and what happens when everything threatens to fall apart.

Us is the story of Douglas, a husband and father whose life turns upside


David Nicholls brings the wit and intelligence that graced his enormously popular New York Times bestseller One Day to a compelling, deftly humorous new novel about what holds marriages and families together—and what happens when everything threatens to fall apart.

Us is the story of Douglas, a husband and father whose life turns upside-down when his wife of three decades tells him she wants a divorce. Will a long-planned family trip to Europe give him one last chance to rescue his relationship with the woman he loves, and learn how to get closer to a son who's always felt like a stranger?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 10/06/2014
In Nicholls's (One Day) latest novel, Connie Peterson wakes her husband Douglas in the middle of the night to tell him she may want to end their marriage. The family already has a European trip planned, the last before their son, Albie, leaves their London suburb for college, and Douglas, ever the scientist, hatches a plan to change Connie's mind: he will ensure their trip becomes an exemplar of the happy family they can be. Working against Douglas is the fact that he and his son have suffered a strained relationship from birth, and that Connie, an artist at heart, believes an organic vacation—one that evolves from the whims of any given day—would be a great improvement over Douglas's strict, pedantic itineraries. Douglas is an amiably bumbling narrator, and Nicholls convincingly infuses his protagonist's voice with the dry wit and charm that have served the author so well in his previous books. This is Nicholls's most ambitious work to date, and his realistically flawed characters are somehow endearing despite the many bruises they inflict upon each other. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-09-13
In his picaresque fourth novel, Nicholls (One Day, 2010, etc.) artfully unveils 25 years of a couple's relationship. Shortly before Douglas Petersen, his wife, Connie, and their 17-year-old son, Albie, are to take a "Grand Tour" of Europe, Connie makes a surprising announcement: She thinks their marriage "has run its course" and is thinking about leaving. Connie is panicked at the thought of Albie going to college at the end of summer, leaving her and Douglas alone in the house. Douglas, a straight-laced biochemist who "had skipped youth and leapt into middle age," came along at a time when Connie, artistic and free-spirited but directionless, needed someone sensible. Despite the announcement, Connie still wants to take this holiday together, and as their journey begins, so does Douglas' examination of his marriage. Part travelogue, part personal history, Douglas' first-person narration intersperses humorous observations of their travels, during which Douglas usually finds himself out of step with his art-loving wife and son, with his wistful recounting of their back story, from his unlikely courtship to his recent positioning as a misfit in his family of three. After a ruinous morning in Amsterdam, when Albie unwisely confronts a trio of arms dealers and Douglas intervenes in a way that infuriates his family, Albie runs away, and the "Grand Tour," deemed a failure, comes to an end. Yet before it's too late, Douglas seizes a chance to find his son, win back the affections of his wife, and make this journey, both literal and figurative, a heroic one after all. Nicholls is a master of the braided narrative, weaving the past and present to create an intricate whole, one that is at times deceptively light and unexpectedly devastating. Though the narration is self-conscious at first, it gradually settles into a voice that is wistful, wry, bewildered and incisive, drawing a portrait of a man who has been out of his league for a long time. Evocative of its European locales—London, Paris, Amsterdam, Venice, Madrid—and awkward family vacations everywhere, this is a funny and moving novel perfect for a long journey.
Book of the Week People
“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.”
Washington Post
“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.”
O Magazine
“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.”
Good Housekeeping
“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?”
Sophie Kinsella
“It’s a great combination of laughs and heart…Just what you need on these too-short days, no?”
New York Times
“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.”
Time magazine
“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.”
Miami Herald
“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.”
“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.”
Jay McInerney
“Nicholls is a deft craftsman, a skilled storyteller and a keen observer of contemporary mores.”
Seattle Times
Us is a quick read but a charming one; a portrait of two journeys—one measured in kilometers, the other in the heart.”
Huffington Post
“Complex family drama...perfect read for the holidays!”
“Paperbacks that Dazzle” Oprah.com
“A smartly optimistic romantic comedy that uses angst and humor to illuminate the resilience of the human heart.”
Jojo Moyes
“I loved this book. Funny, sad, tender: for anyone who wants to know what happens after the Happy Ever After.”
S.J. Watson
“Wonderful. A novel that manages to be both truly hilarious and deeply affecting. I loved it.”
Entertainment Weekly
“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.”
Booklist (starred review)
“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.”
Best Books of the Fall (2014) People
“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.”
Daily Mail (London)
“Liked One Day? Then you’ll find this absolutely fabulous.… Very funny and very moving, often at the same time.”
Library Journal
★ 09/15/2014
Douglas Petersen is a biochemist. His wife, Connie, an artist (though nonpracticing) and arts administrator, in bed at 4 a.m., tells him that after 24 years of marriage she is thinking of leaving him. The often maddeningly practical, reliable, and methodical Douglas is, understandably, shaken, as his devotion to Connie is beyond question. The family was to embark on a Grand Tour of Europe this summer; their 17-year-old son, Albie, is starting college in the fall. Connie feels they should all go anyway. Douglas, ever the scientist, hopes that through careful preparation (and lots of Wikipedia) the trip will bring structure to his son and help remind his wife of the wonderful life they share. Yet an altercation with a guest in their Amsterdam hotel sends Albie off on his own, with Douglas in hot pursuit. VERDICT Nicholls (One Day) has created in Douglas a man who has always known where he was and where he was going and who now is suddenly adrift emotionally as well as physically. And all the guidebooks and online tours won't be enough to right his course. Are you thinking this is a predictable tale of family dynamics? Think again; this is Nicholls, after all. 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. [See Prepub Alert, 5/12/14; see also "Editors' Fall Picks," LJ 9/1/14, p. 28.]—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet 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 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 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.
Anonymous 9 months 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.
tommy29 More than 1 year ago
Loved it as much as "One Day."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shutup plese i mean seriously yolo:(:(:(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know you... right?