The novel US is based on what movie directors call a “high-concept” premise: shortly before a husband and wife take their son on a multi-week European vacation, the wife informs her husband that she thinks she wants to leave him. But she still wants to take the trip.
The key word is “thinks.” She’s not sure. Therein lies the suspense. Toss in the story of how these two people met and fell in love, witty dialogue, and enticing descriptions of vibrant tourist attractions in Paris, Amsterdam, Venice, Barcelona, and Madrid, and you’ve got a great 396-page escape.
More seriously, though, this book explores the question: “What does ‘Happily Ever After’ really mean?” Anyone who has seriously entertained the notion of marriage has probably given this some thought. So, clearly, has David Nicholls.
I won’t spoil the ending except to say that it is plausible and satisfying.