You Are Here

You Are Here


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Published 30th April 2024

Susan's Review

Fans of David Nicholl’s Booker-longlisted novel One Day (which was made into a dreadful movie and recently resurrected as an engaging Netflix series) will be charmed by his new novel You are Here. It’s a dual narrative that alternates the perspectives of forty-two-year-old Michael, a high school geography teacher, and Marnie, a freelance copyeditor in her late thirties. Michael is separated, Marnie is divorced, and both have become, by their own admission, unsociable to the point of reclusiveness. When a mutual friend invites them on a week-long walking expedition through the Lake District and beyond, neither anticipates a romantic attachment.  The weather is often foul, the hotels dank and inhospitable; and while Michael is an experienced hiker, Marnie chaffs at the discomfort and tedium of pelting rain, mud and blistered feet.

You are Here employs the classic tropes of romantic fiction: a plot which charts the shift from indifference to a growing attraction between the two main characters; a false suitor for both of them; and the erotic appeal of deferral (when, if at all, will Marnie and Michael have sex?) But what distinguishes this novel from the usual formulaic fare is its use of whip-smart dialogue which, while clever and entertaining, is gradually revealed as an evasion of the loneliness felt by the two characters. The novel also offers a thoughtful depiction of masculine and feminine vulnerability; the courage required to trust another person after the pain of failed marriages; and the valuing of sentiment that never lapses into sentimentality. The title ‘You are Here’ represents not only a geographical marker but the recognition of Michael and Marnie of the complex and lovely presence of the other.

You are Here is an ideal choice for bookclubs, and for any reader who enjoys a romantic novel that’s well written and witty, as well as evoking the pathos of missed opportunities and regrets. It’s classic David Nicholls: a relatively ‘easy’ read which also raises serious questions about the inevitable complications and compromises of romantic relationships, friendship and family.

Publishers Reviews

A highlight for 2024 for the Sunday TimesGuardianIndependentNew Statesman, i, ObserverGraziaGQIrish TimesSunday IndependentPrima, Good Housekeeping

'Magnificent' MARIAN KEYES

'A beautiful book' TRACY CHEVALIER

'Genius . . . another classic and funny love story' MATT HAIG

'I don't know how he does it, but he's the only person who can' ELIZABETH DAY

'I loved it' BONNIE GARMUS


Sometimes you need to get lost to find your way

Marnie is stuck.

Stuck working alone in her London flat, stuck battling the long afternoons and a life that often feels like it's passing her by.

Michael is coming undone.

Reeling from his wife's departure, increasingly reclusive, taking himself on long, solitary walks across the moors and fells.

When a persistent mutual friend and some very English weather conspire to bring them together, Marnie and Michael suddenly find themselves alone on the most epic of walks and on the precipice of a new friendship.

But can they survive the journey?

A new love story by beloved bestseller David Nicholls, You Are Here is a novel of first encounters, second chances and finding the way home.