Us by David Nicholls - review by Anthony Cummins

Anthony Cummins

Father Afield

Us

By

Hodder & Stoughton 396pp £20 order from our bookshop
 

As an account of fatherhood, David Nicholls’s new novel probably won’t receive the critical plaudits lavished upon Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle, in which the Norwegian author chronicles, among other things, his attempts to write a masterpiece while knee-deep in nappies. Yet the experience of Nicholls’s protagonist, Douglas Petersen, is surely more common: leaving the house early to catch the train to work, returning late and frazzled to pitch in at home as best you can, sensing that your child is growing up without you.

It was recently pointed out that, for all the hype, the three volumes of My Struggle currently available in English have sold only around 22,000 copies here; Nicholls’s previous novel, the post-university romance One Day (2009), sold five million worldwide. Those sales partly explain the sense of surprise that greeted

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