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A Certain Age [Paperback]

Tama Janowitz
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: £6.99
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Book Description

8 May 2000
When Florence Collins sets out for a weekend in the Hamptons, her life spirals into a disastrous series of mishaps that include an unwanted night-time visit from her friend's husband, the near drowning of their daughter, and her expulsion from the premises. Thus begins this tragi-comic novel about the sad plight of a woman on the make in Manhattan.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (8 May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747545340
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747545347
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 857,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Ever gone mad with a credit card? Wished you lived in New York? Craved upward-mobility? This tale of social climbing and compulsive spending, by the author of Slaves of New York, American Dad, A Cannibal in Manhatten and The Male Cross-Dresser Support Group, will cure you. For good.

Florence Collins is assistant director at a second-rate auction house. She doesn't earn enough to support her lifestyle, which requires the purchase of vast quantities of designer clothes and over-priced, pre-prepared foodstuffs. The cash she inherited from her mother is running out fast, she's 32--"A Certain Age" (or, according to NY society gossip columns, an "aging filly-about-town")--fully conscious of her own shallowness and lack of principles, and desperate for a husband. A rich husband. A very very very rich husband.

Janowitz's witty, nasty novel shows how Florence's crass attempts to capture this elusive creature draw her into a downward spiral through the superficial world of air-kissing, baby showers, fashionable art, infidelity and child-neglect, into her own personal hell. More self-destructive than Madame Bovary, like Bridget Jones with the nice bits amputated, in Florence Collins Tama Janowitz has created a tragi-comic anti-heroine who is just one big fatal flaw. Read it and shriek. --Lisa Gee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'She's the heroine the 1990s deserve, and this novel of manners would distinguish any decade' Elle 'Blackly humorous' Esquire

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A TRAGIC TALE OF URBAN ANGST 2 Sep 2003
The setting for this novel is the dog-eat-dog world of Manhattan during the closing years of the 20th Century. It is populated by the same type of soulless characters as can be found in the pages of Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire Of The Vanities". In such a milieu true friendship is almost non-existent; social contacts being made, kept and dropped solely to further self-enterest. This is a world of style over substance where no one is anyone unless he or she has wealth, power and influence.
Florence is a lonely woman with little in the way of family or real friends. Despite her surface sophistication she never seems to quite fit into the super-affluent world she craves to be a part of: she flounders at crucial moments, swimming against a current too strong for her and then getting out of her depth.
An interesting aspect of the novel is that Florence is well aware of her own shallowness and lack of humanity, however she does nothing about this and continues to follow her own directive. Her life as portrayed here is goal-orientated with little time for any real contentment or self-reflection. It is astounding how a woman of only thirty-two (the 'certain age' of the title)could endure such a joyless existence - her behaviour is hidebound; she is a slave to fashion and protocol with little self-esteem or personal freedom.
This is a captivating book: Janowitz's attention to the details of Manhattan life produces some fine social satire indeed. There is also an existential tone to the novel in that there is a question of whether Florence is victim or fool. Was she just lacking sufficient urban survival skills in a ruthless Darwinian world, or blinded by her own greed and selfishness was she doomed to a suffering entirely of her own making? Ultimately is Florence the kind of person who would notice if the sun rose in the West? You will have to read this funny but tragic book and see for yourself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A modern-day Becky Sharp 18 Nov 1999
By A Customer
I thought the book was great! The whole idea of Florence is that she is superficial and grasping; I neither liked nor disliked her but felt rather detached. The story isn't particularly strong, but I think the whole novel is more of a character study of Florence and the rich idiots whose company she favours - and as for the end, I thought it opened up all kinds of possibilities for our heroine!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Janowitz always entertains 22 May 2000
By Kate
I had looked forward to reading this new novel from one of my favourite writers and was not disappointed. If you want a fast-paced, entertaining, terse, sharp read about the so-called NY high-life then this is one for you. Does not have the quirky edge of previous Janowitz novels and this I did miss. Characterisation was scant, efficent and fun but I wanted to get to know a few of the players a little better. Florence delighted and annoyed me throughout. There were points where I really wanted her to do something nasty to herself, just to break the pattern of relationship fatigue and spending. And how come her credit card never got refused! The ending made me yowl with frustration - is there going to be a sequel or can we presume Florence saw the Statue of Liberty, walked into the sunset and found another day? I guess so.... Looking forward to the next novel no matter.
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2.0 out of 5 stars As easy to put down as it is to pick up. 31 Aug 1999
By A Customer
I had read that this book was the US equivalent of Bridget Jones's diary. This it isn't. The only similarity is that the heroine is female. Florence Collins is portrayed as an unpleasant character; no values, materialisitc and will hurt people in order to obtain what she wants. I took an instant dislike to her and found it hard to get into the book as a result. The ending was disappointing as the story just fizzles out. Most classic books have a beggining a middle and an end. This one just drifts from the word go and then stops.
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