Thursday, 2 February 2017

Us by David Nicholls

Douglas and Connie, scientist and artist and for more than twenty years, husband and wife until suddenly, their marriage seems to be over.

But Douglas is going to win back the love of his wife and the respect of Albie, their teenage son, by organising the holiday of a lifetime.

He has booked the hotels, bought the train tickets, planned and printed the itinerary for a 'ground tour' of the great art galleries of Europe.

What could possibly go wrong?

The narrator of this book is Douglas and with whom I connected with from the very beginning. The whole book is narrated by him and therefore, we see only his perception of events but I honestly felt like Douglas was a friend by the time I finished the book as he is a wonderfully imperfect character as so many of us are in real life. The author did a fantastic job of creating a character who I laughed and cried with along the way. 

The other characters are equally well drawn although we only see them through Douglas's eyes but they equally stirred a reaction in me.

The story moves between past and present to enable the reader to understand the backstory of the relationship between the past and present relationship of Douglas and Connie. These transitions are seamless and add much to the story.

I loved the dry humour  and social observations that run throughout this book and which made it very readable. It is not a work of literature and was never intended to be but a great book to sit back and read and relax with. 

I have read and enjoyed most of David Nicholls books and this one did not disappoint in any way. Well worth reading and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2014.

ISBN:  978 0340897010

Publisher: Hodder

About the Author:

David Nicholls is a British author, screenwriter, and actor. A student of Toynbee Comprehensive school and Barton Peveril Sixth Form College, he Graduated from the University of Bristol having studied English Literature and Drama.

After graduation, he won a scholarship to study at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, before returning to London in 1991 and finally earning an Equity card. He worked sporadically as an actor for the next eight years, eventually earning a three year stint at the Royal National Theatre, followed by a job at BBC Radio Drama as a script reader/researcher. This led to script-editing jobs at London Weekend Television and Tiger Aspect Productions.

During this period, he began to write, developing an adaptation of Sam Shepard’s stage-play Simpatico with the director Matthew Warchus, an old friend from University. He also wrote his first original script, a situation comedy about frustrated waiters, Waiting, which was later optioned by the BBC.

Simpatico was turned into a feature film in 1999, and this allowed David to start writing full-time. He has been twice nominated for BAFTA awards and his first novel, Starter for Ten was featured on the first Richard and Judy Book Club.


  1. Why is it not literature? I don't agree on that. Literature doesn't necessarily mean: difficult to read. I think e.g. Nicholls style is brilliant. And the way the story is constructed is clever and subtle. The characters: very credible. Quite a literary achievement. I think.

    1. Hi and thank you for your comment. I agree with you in that I think Nicholls style is brilliant and I have read all his books. Indeed, literature does not need to be difficult to read. My comment that this book is not literature was not an implied criticism but a compliment. Heaven help us if every book was a great work of literature! Each book is a different experience for the individual reader and I admire the fact that we can each look at books in different ways.