US

David Nicholls

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 Douglas that she thinks she wants a divorce.

The timing couldn’t be worse. Hoping to encourage her son’s artistic

interests,

more …

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 Douglas that she thinks she wants a divorce.

The timing couldn’t be worse. Hoping to encourage her son’s artistic

interests, Connie has planned a monthlong 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. Douglas is privately convinced that this

landmark trip will rekindle the romance in the marriage, and may even

help him to bond with Albie.

From the streets of Amsterdam to the famed museums of Paris, from

the cafés of Venice to the beaches of Barcelona, Douglas’s odyssey brings

Europe 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?

less …
  • Harper Paperbacks
  • Paperback
  • June 2015
  • 416 Pages
  • 9780062365590

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About David Nicholls

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.

Praise

“I loved this book. Funny, sad, tender: for anyone who wants to know what

happens after the Happy Ever After.”—Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before

You and One Plus One

“A great novel…Nicholls is a master of nuanced relationships.”—Entertainment Weekly

Discussion Questions

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?

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?

How important is it for a person to stay true to their individuality?

How do we reconcile individuality within relationships and families?

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?

How does Douglas cope when his “Grand Tour” plans aren’t working

out? How does he adjust over the course of his journey?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

The novel is called Us. Is there really an “Us” in the story? If yes, who?

If no, what inspired the title?