The Three of U.S.: A New Life in New York

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9780002571029: The Three of U.S.: A New Life in New York

After a decade in the London media, Joanna Coles and Peter Godwin set sail for New York. The Three of U.S. is the amusing diary of an affectionate but unconventional and frequently volatile relationship between two competing hypochondriacs about to become parents.

He’s preoccupied by the lump on his elbow. She’s trying to determine the accuracy of the DIY pregnancy-testing kit.

In the summer of 1997 Joanna Coles and Peter Godwin set sail from Southampton for New York and a new life in America. As the quay side band played them off in the drizzle, they anticipated a life of glamorous parties, power brunches and weekend trips to the Bahamas.

Coles had been posted to New York as the Guardian correspondent – but discovered that most New Yorkers mistake the paper for the in-house pamphlet published by La Guardia Airport. Peter Godwin decided to write a novel: a year later, it’s largely unfinished.

Veering from the frankly absurd to the simply bizarre, The Three of U.S. is the alternating diary entries of Coles and Godwin. It chronicles their lives in Manhattan, where they get used to living above the main transvestite drag in Greenwich Village and, after a false start, learn the shocking news that they are to become parents.

Drawing on an eclectic supporting cast of their neurotic, over-achieving, pill popping new friends, it’s a wry look at the panic of thirty-somethings everywhere. From the confusing etiquette of how to greet your film star neighbours, to the labyrinth of American health care, from gay pride to the dog that pays taxes, from the dungeons of S&M clubs to society benefits, it is also the diary of one of the world’s greatest and most extreme cities.

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Review:

When journalist Joanna Coles and her partner Peter Godwin decided to pack up and head off to join the high life of the literati in good old New York, little did they know that Joanna would soon be playing host to a new creation that neither of them were quite prepared for. As the pair get to grips with the madness of the Big Apple and the passenger in Joanna's pelvis prepares itself for the Big Entry, the couple wing it as writers about town, she working in a deserted office for The Guardian and he practising his work-avoidance techniques as he does battle with the Novel.

The Three of U.S. is the diary of two supposedly intelligent human beings whose brains are slowly being turned to mush by a pregnancy that forces both of them to reassess their lives amid the lunacy of New York. As their two diaries, running concurrently through the book, tell of their loft-living moments overlooking hookers' paradise, their high-rolling, pill-popping buddies, the search for a gynaecologist with all his faculties, the terror of Lamaze classes and the daily battles with removal men and cleaners, the reader joins them on the slippery slope towards parenthood in the city that never sleeps, taking in the pain of a journey of discovery that leaves both authors breathless and bewildered.

A dry, sideways look at life in New York by a couple of resident aliens on the edge, The Three of U.S is an amusing, observational log of thirty-something neuroses magnified by the glare of the wit and wisdom of two accomplished writers on the brink. --Susan Harrison

Review:

‘sharp, true and funny’
Evening Standard

‘this witty [[[and rueful]]] chronicle is, unlike giving birth, nothing but fun’
The Times

‘a droll, delightful diary’
She

‘funny and moving’
Marie Claire

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