Sunday, September 27, 2015

Us - David Nicholls

Every individual on this planet has a unique approach towards life...Most of the times they clash when two people from entirely different perspectives on life live together under the same roof...The marriage of the wild and crazy artist Connie and the very ordinary and stable scientist Douglas is a complete mismatch though they fall in love with each other following the universal law,'The opposites attract'..But could love be the only ingredient required for a successful marriage ?..No,right ?..There are so many other factors that influence a relationship..Here at this very point,starts the story of Douglas and Connie and their only son Albie(or Egg-his nickname),the 'Us' family..

Image courtesy Google
'Us' was written by David Nicholls,followed by his most popular work 'One Day'..Its is the story of Douglas Petersen who tries to save his drowning relationships with his wife and seventeen year old son..Douglas narrates the story to us..To rekindle the love and affection in their relationship they  plan a grand tour to Europe..Douglas feels that he could be able to convince Connie and eventually everything would fall into place by the end of this trip..But whether it happen the way he wish it to be  is the remaining part of the story...'Us' is all about relationships and life perspectives..Also there are some wonderful psychological illustrations..No doubt the writer is a master storyteller with wonderful flow of narration but reading travelogues is a kinda boring for me..I couldn't enjoy them much,for I believe in only experiencing them..Otherwise,readers who can enjoy reading about places would find some wonderful descriptions about Amsterdam night life,Venice streets and Barcelona beaches etc..When it comes to Douglas-Connie's and Douglas-Albie's relationships the author maintained a decent composure through out the novel while judging characters..It's hard for the readers to take sides because everyone appears right on their own way..However we feel a little more concerned about Douglas who is although very caring and loving person but lacks creative and intellectual streak like Connie and Albie..But is love is all about PDAs and creative kinda expression in this typical age of technology ? Still thinking....

Pages :412

Here I'm sharing few favourite lines from the book,

I had always been led to believe that ageing was a slow and gradual process, the creep of a glacier. Now I realise that it happens in a rush, like snow falling off a roof.

It is not necessary to be seen to be right about everything, even when that is the case.

Soon I found myself sitting between two actors on drugs, a position that, a number of peer-reviewed research papers have since confirmed, is precisely the worst place a biochemist can be.

I don’t really think it’s my “scene”, Karen.’

Emotional intelligence, the perfect oxymoron! 

It seemed the tendency to wilfully misinterpret jokes was contagious.

Don’t you see?’ said Connie, hurling cutlery at the drawer. ‘Even if it’s hard, he has to try! If he loves it, we have to let him try. Why must you always have to stomp on his dreams?
I’ve got nothing against his dreams as long as they’re attainable.’ 
‘But if they’re attainable then they’re not dreams!
And that’s why it’s a waste of time!’ I said. ‘The problem with telling people that they can do anything they want to do is that it is objectively, factually inaccurate. Otherwise the whole world would just be ballet dancers and pop stars.

When did it start, Douglas?’ she said, her voice low. ‘When did you start to drain the passion out of everything.

After nearly a quarter of a century, the questions about our distant pasts have all been posed and we’re left with ‘how was your day?’ and ‘when will you be home?’ and ‘have you put the bins out?’ Our biographies involve each other so intrinsically now that we’re both on nearly every page. We know the answers because we were there, and so curiosity becomes hard to maintain; replaced, I suppose, by nostalgia.

There’s a saying, cited in popular song, that if you love someone you must set them free. Well, that’s just nonsense. If you love someone, you bind them to you with heavy metal chains.

Weddings turn the bride and groom into performers.

Was it the happiest day of our lives? Probably not, if only because the truly happy days tend not to involve so much organisation, are rarely so public or so expensive. The happy ones sneak up, unexpected.

Well I can tell you now that married life is not a plateau, not at all. There are ravines and great jagged peaks and hidden crevasses that send the both of you scrabbling into darkness. Then there are dull, parched stretches that you feel will never end, and much of the journey is in fraught silence, and sometimes you can’t see the other person at all, sometimes they drift off very far away from you, quite out of sight, and the journey is hard. It is just very, very, very hard.

Grief is as much about regret for what you’ve never had as sadness for what you’ve lost.

Humans, I mean. It feels too much like a test, like surviving in the wilderness. It’s a good experience to have, one is pleased to have succeeded, but it’s still not the best. I miss company.

But perhaps it’s a delusion for each generation to think that they know better than their parents. If this were true, then parental wisdom would increase with time like the processing power of computer chips, refining over generations, and we’d now be living in some utopia of openness and understanding.

The great virtue of defeat, once accepted, is that it at least allows one to rest.


Ramakrishnan Ramanathan said...

Incisive and thought provoking review ! Definitely has kindled my interest.Now must and download onto my kindle :)

Bikram said...

Now that is a brilliant review on the book.. has made me curious about the book


colorful slate said...

I think I am going to read this one after this splendid review. :)