US BY DAVID NICHOLLS
jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG Thursday 15th October 2020
I have just finished watching the brilliant serialisation of the novel “Us” by David Nicholls on BBC 1.
Us is a 2014 novel by English author David Nicholls for whom it won the Specsavers ”UK Author of the Year” award. It was also long-listed for the 2014 Man Booker Prize. The BBC screened a four-part TV adapation of the novel, by Nicholls, in 2020, starring Tom Hollander, Saskia Reeves and Tom Taylor.
The book begins when Connie, frustrated artist and Douglas Petersen’s wife of nearly 25 years tells him that now their son Albie is about to leave home for college, she wants to leave too. Douglas resolves that their last family holiday together, a ‘grand tour’ of the cultural and artistic gems of Europe will “be the trip of a lifetime, one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son. One that will make Connie fall in love with him all over again”.
The narrative then alternates between the story of the disastrous trip, at the start of which Albie deserts his parents in Amsterdam, and that of Douglas’s unlikely courtship and marriage to Connie, contrasting his disciplined scientific life as a biochemist with Connie’s spontaneous artistic character.
Tim Auld in The Telegraph, praises the novel, concluding “Us is a quiet joy, written with an undemonstrative simplicity that is hard to achieve. It’s also a novel that captures the zeitgeist and will speak to many middle-aged people who find that their marriage has run its course and realise they must start out on a new romantic journey. It won’t make waves like One Day, but then, no writer should expect that kind of success more than once in a lifetime.
Matt Cain writing in The Independent refuses to be critical: “a reviewer is only ever respected if he demolishes someone’s work and even if he loves it can often feel duty-bound to toss in at least one criticism. But I’m not going to do this as I think Us is a perfect book. And I don’t care if that means I’ve failed as a reviewer, because I’ve already won as a reader.”
Jay McInerney in The New York Times had some reservations though: “Nicholls is a deft craftsman, a skilled storyteller and a keen observer of contemporary mores. It would be interesting to see him challenge himself to dig deeper under the surface of contemporary life. Us will probably be welcomed by his legions of fans, though it’s unlikely to surprise or challenge or unsettle them in any way — or to provoke them to look at each other with a wild surmise.”
Author David Nicholls’ Books
Starter for Ten (2003)
The Understudy (2005)
One Day (2009)
Sweet Sorrow (2019)
Nicholls co-wrote the adapted screenplay of Simpatico and contributed four scripts to the third series of Cold Feet (both 2000). For the latter, he was nominated for a British Academy Television Craft Award for Best New Writer (Fiction). He created the Granada Television pilot and miniseries I Saw You (2000, 2002) and the Tiger Aspect six-part series Rescue Me (2002). Rescue Me lasted for only one series before being cancelled. Nicholls had written four episodes for the second series before being told of the cancellation. His anger over this led to him taking a break from screenwriting to concentrate on writing Starter for Ten. When he returned to screenwriting, he adapted Much Ado About Nothing into a one-hour segment of the BBC’s 2005 ShakespeaRe-Told season. He wrote a screen adaptation of his novel, One Day, which was made into a film starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess.
In 2006, his film adaptation Starter for 10 was released in cinemas. The following year, he wrote And When Did You Last See Your Father?, an adaptation of the memoir by Blake Morrison. His adaptation of Tess of the D’Urbervilles for the BBC aired in 2008. He has also adapted Great Expectations; the screenplay has been listed on the 2009 Brit List, an annual industry poll of the best unmade scripts outside the United States. He wrote The 7.39, which was broadcast on BBC One in January 2014.
Nicholls worked on the initial script for Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016) but the script was re-written and he was not credited in the film. He wrote Patrick Melrose (2018), a five-part television series based on Edward St Aubyn‘s novels.
In 2005, he wrote Aftersun for the Old Vic‘s 24-Hour Play festival. The play, starring James Nesbitt, Saffron Burrows, Catherine Tate and Gael García Bernal was just 10 minutes long. Nicholls developed Aftersun into a one-off comedy for BBC One. It starred Peter Capaldi and Sarah Parish and was broadcast in 2006.
We have loved the BBC 1 dramatized series of “Us”.
Only one problem for me is the ending. I will not describe it in case you wish to read the book or watch the series on TV and do not want it spoiling.
I do lots of writing myself and manage to handle most parts of a story but always struggle with the ending. I think the ending is so important and makes a story. Consequently, I find it difficult to find suitable perfect endings for my writings. And end up over analysing everyone else’s ending.
I love an unexpected twist from nowhere. but it has to be realistic. Not easy to do.
I have to say if I was David Nicholls I wouldn’t be satisfied with this ending. Although I read Tim Auld in The Telegraph’s critique above which made me understand more about the ending.
I would have enjoyed it more with a good clever unexpected twist at the end.
But all in all an excellent novel. I love it.
DON’T FORGET TO LAUGH EVERYDAY
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE DAY
“My pain may be the reason for somebody’s laugh. But my laugh must never be the reason for somebody’s pain.” m — Charlie Chaplin
Happiness is…is a book titled Us by David Nicholls
GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY
“Two monkeys were getting into the bath. One said: ‘Oo, oo, aah.’ The other replied: ‘Put some cold in then.” – Harry Hill
Love is…your family.
WHAT IS THERE A SEASON FOR TODAY TURN, TURN, TURN …
A time to read Us by David Nicholls…A time to read One Day by David Nicholls
SOMETHING TO BE POSITIVE ABOUT & GRATEFUL FOR IN THE WORLD
I am grateful for long distance walks
SOMETHING TO LAUGH ABOUT
Morecambe & Wise
Eric Morecambe (John Eric Bartholomew, 14 May 1926 – 28 May 1984) and Ernie Wise (Ernest Wiseman, 27 November 1925 – 21 March 1999), known as Morecambe and Wise (and sometimes as Eric and Ernie), were an iconic English comic double act, working in variety, radio, film and most successfully in television. Their partnership lasted from 1941 until Morecambe’s death in 1984. They have been described as “the most illustrious, and the best-loved, double-act that Britain has ever produced”.
In a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000, voted for by industry professionals, The Morecambe and Wise Show was placed 14th. In September 2006, they were voted by the general public as number 2 in a poll of TV’s 50 Greatest Stars. Their early career was the subject of the 2011 television biopic Eric and Ernie, and their 1970s career was the subject of the television biopic Eric, Ernie and Me in 2017.
In 1999 the comedy pair were posthumously awarded the BAFTA Fellowship. In 2013, the two were honoured with a blue plaque at Teddington Studios where their last four series of The Morecambe and Wise Show were recorded.
Years active 1941–1984
VIZ MAGAZINE TOP TIPS
Reduce wear and tear on your work clothes by 20% by simply staying in bed on Mondays and not going to work.
TOTAL STAIRWAY TO EVEREST CLIMB CHALLENGE
Wednesday 14/10/2020 DAY 193 – 12 Times – 120 Feet Cum Total – 23,160 Feet – (Goal 29,035 Ft)
©2020 Phil M Robinson