Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Review --- US by David Nichols- Let's Tour of Europe as Our Family Crumbles!

Again, I have delayed writing about so very much, truly from love (the wedding) to loss (of my mother-in-law).  But, despite reading quite slowly, I am determined to get reviews up in a timely fashion, or a reasonably timely fashion.  Though this book did hit the stores (and many private orders) on Sept 30 so maybe it is a great time to write.  The destined-to-love-it folks who pre-order because they knew the author's prior work (One Day).  And now it sits on shelves, hits some lists (Booker Prize longlist), and people are starting to look to reviews....

Douglas, a straitlaced scientist, is awakened one morning by Connie, his free-flowing artistic wife of nearly 25 years.  She thinks their marriage has run its course, that she can't see happiness in it now that their only son is off to university.  But, she still wants to continue a planned family Grand Tour through Europe.  She agrees to put off a final decision until the travelers (Connie, Douglas, and son Albie) return.

This is primarily a study in family dynamics (though moments of art history are thrown in).  We see the love story from the day they met and follow it through some unimaginable lows and the addition of family member three, a son much more akin to his mother than his father.  We follow as they embark on their long vacation and....well, i'll leave the rest....

I enjoyed this book, but it got far too long.  The beautiful words seemed to hold me inside.  Emotions ring true and actions feel real.  You could like, or disllike, multiple characters at once without inconsostency.  Both more depth than expected yet remained true.

4 of 5 stars.  As always, thanks to Harper for the advance readers' copy.   Would be interested to read a (shorter!) version from another point of view, or even a "response