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A furious bidding war for the Hollywood film rights to the British publishing phenomenon of the year has broken out – even before the book has been released. Us by David Nicholls is already the most hotly awaited novel of the year. His last book, One Day, sold an astonishing five million copies – including two million in Britain alone – after its publication in 2009. The first ever glimpse of Us will be revealed in this weekend’s Mail on Sunday, with an exclusive 8,500-word extract in a special issue of You magazine. It sets up the plot of a couple and their teenage son touring Europe as they attempt to salvage their crumbling marriage – a storyline that was inspired by Nicholls’ own experience of promoting One Day five years ago.

Booksellers expect huge demand for the novel, which is predicted to top best seller lists around the world when it is published by Hodder & Stoughton on September 30 – and now Mail Online can reveal that Russell Crowe is among the Hollywood A-listers locked in a battle for the film rights.One Day was adapted into a film in 2011 starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess as lovers whose relationship was charted on the same date over several years.

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