There’s no clear-cut happy ending Us

It’s been five years, two months and about seven days since One Day was published, selling five million copies around the world and arguably making David Nicholls a household name. 

Us

David Nicholls

Hodder & Stoughton, €28.99,

ebook €12.99 

It’s been five years, two months and about seven days since One Day was published, selling five million copies around the world and arguably making David Nicholls a household name. He adapted the book for the big screen, as he had with his first book Starter For Ten, with Anne Hathaway’s attempts to nail down an English accent, as the heroine Emma, dividing fans.

Now the wait is finally over for his new book, Us, which is sort of what might have happened to Emma and Dexter if they had grown old together. Douglas Peterson is a scientist who’s been married to free-spirited artist Connie for 21 years. Their son Albie is about to leave home for university, so they’ve planned a Grand Tour of Europe to show him all the best artwork. But before the trip, Connie tells Douglas she’s thinking of leaving him. Told entirely from Douglas’ perspective, the reader is treated to a series of flashbacks explaining how he and Connie met (at his sister’s dinner party), got together, got married, and lost their first child, a daughter, before they had Albie. Interwoven is the tale of their ill-fated adventures around Europe — Albie meets a mouthy Australian girl, who plays the accordion, in Amsterdam and runs off with her, Connie goes home and Douglas embarks on a mission to find (and reconnect with) his son and win back his wife. It’s an expertly drawn portrait of a modern family, and the personal sacrifices individuals make to become and thrive as a unit. At times, Douglas’ attention to detail is infuriating and it seems a little unlikely that he and Connie would be paired in the first place, so different are they to one another, but perhaps opposites attract after all?

As with One Day, there’s no clear-cut happy ending, it’s an ’emotional journey’ which will find you cheering for our anti-hero Douglas.


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