A marriage is subjected to scrutiny in David Nicholls’ new book, Us
A conversation with David Nicholls (One Day) about his new book, his creative inspirations, and what he often thinks about as he’s writing.
Recently at HarperCollins Canada headquarters in Toronto, I hosted David Nicholls for an intimate gathering with fans of the publisher’s Facebook page.
Nicholls won millions of admirers with his best-selling novel One Day, which went on to be adapted for the big screen in 2011 and starred Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. In his new book, Us, Nicholls follows the travails and travels of Douglas and Connie, whose 21-year marriage is on the verge of falling apart. Nicholls says Us is a follow-up of sorts to One Day, in that it carries on to see what happens after a couple finally “I do.” Us has already won critical acclaim and was long-listed for the 2014 Man Booker Prize.
Nicholls was both charming and funny as he talked about the book’s evolution. There were difficulties, he admits — near the beginning of the process, after spending 18 months writing, he tossed away some 35,000 words before starting all over again. And he shared with us the sorts of things that happen to a writer that can make it into a book. Among the creative provocations this time out: his travels through Europe, including what could have turned into a disastrous encounter while out for dinner in Amsterdam’s red light district, along with a tour of a fruit-fly laboratory, which surprisingly provided the setting of one of the novel’s most romantic scenes.
For more about this touching and entertaining novel, the podcast of the complete interview is below.