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Wise Men Hardcover – 5 Feb 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 335 pages
  • Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books; First Edition edition (5 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316126489
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316126489
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,929,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘Nadler skillfully creates characters whose failures and faults make them comically, endearingly human’ New Yorker

‘Funny and tragic and old-fashioned and brand-spanking new, all at once’ Oprah Magazine

‘Stuart Nadler is a great writer’ Time Out

‘It’s an absorbing, well-crafted book, with all the story-telling virtues on display. It is atmospheric, thoughtful and mature, with characters whose fate arouses genuine curiosity. It is fiction of great integrity and vast promise.’ Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies

Wise Men is a brilliantly plotted and carefully observed novel that takes the reader deep inside a powerful family’s most guarded secrets. An epic saga about a son's need to atone for the sins of his father and the sins of his own troubled youth. The driving heart of this ambitious novel is an impossible romance: one worth risking an entire outrageous fortune. With wisdom and compassion, Nadler examines the mysteries and manners of unrequited love. Wise Men confirms that Stuart Nadler is a writer of abundant talent and grace.’ Amber Dermont, author of the The Starboard Sea

‘I have no doubt that Stuart Nadler is going to be one of our great novelists, and it all starts here, on a dune in Cape Cod, with the Wise men. These characters—knotted together with obligation, guilt, and love—will stay with me always.’ Emma Straub, author of Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures

Wise Men reads like a classic; it is a completely engrossing novel, one that scars the reader's heart in the most satisfying way. In confident, unpretentious prose, Nadler tackles the complexity of racial tension and fifties mores in a manner reminiscent of Harper Lee and Carson McCullers, and in a smart, misses-nothing style that summons comparisons to Salinger and Cheever. Hilton Wise is a winsome and compelling narrator, one you'll find yourself rooting for days after finishing the book. Nadler's deft rendering of place, namely a secluded compound in coastal Massachusetts, allows the reader to become completely lost in Hilly’s world. Wise Men is, at its core, a brutal love story, full of surprise and conviction, insight and deception, staggering wealth and loss, truth and beauty.’ Megan Mayhew Bergman, author of Birds of a Lesser Paradise

‘While Stuart Nadler’s ambitious debut novel touches on money, class, race and religion, first and foremost Wise Men is about youth, betrayal and regret. In his idealism and denial, Hilly Wise, the poor little rich boy, is a truly American character, and the perfect narrator for the tale.’ Stewart O’Nan, author of Emily, Alone and The Odds

‘Stuart Nadler is an elegant writer and a compelling storyteller. Wise Men explores the big questions in life—love and money and race and identity—in a story packed with secrets, longings, and obsessions. It is not a book to be missed.’ Vanessa Diffenbaugh, author of The Language of Flowers

‘A tense, evocative, page-turning saga of the bruising encounters between two families across the “colour line” over half a century. Every conversation rings painfully, beautifully true.’ Emma Donoghue, author of Room

'Wise Men is a masterful first novel about the tensions caused by racial and financial barriers; a resonant and sensitively told story about familial and romantic love – covering the heartbreak, disappointments and obligations of both – and the shadows cast over our lives in youth.' Psychologies --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

'Brilliant' Grazia

'Beautifully written' Daily Express

Hilton Wise is the son of one of the wealthiest and most powerful lawyers in America. When he falls for Savannah, a young black girl he meets on the beach at Cape Cod during the summer of 1952, he has no idea that his passion for her will lead to the exposure of his father's deepest secrets. The result shatters his family, and hers.

Years later, Hilly sets out to find Savannah and to right the wrongs he set in motion. But can his sense of guilt, and his good intentions, overcome the forces of history, family, and identity?

Told over fifty years, Wise Men is a sweeping story about love and regret, the evolving struggle for racial dignity, and the difficulty of doing the right thing in an unjust world.

'Masterful . . . a resonant and sensitively told story about familial and romantic love' Psychologies

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By San Diego surfer on 15 May 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Having read and enjoyed Stuart Nadler's first book, a collection of short stories entitled The Book of Life, I had high hopes for Wise Men, his first novel. And I was not disappointed in the slightest. Set in Cape Cod, Wise Men is the story of a father, Arthur Wise, and his son, Hilton, who have a complex and difficult relationship. It begins in the late 1940s and Arthur Wise has become very rich, after discovering a way to profit from lawsuits related to aviation accidents and disasters. Hilton is embarrassed by his father's obscene wealth and his many issues, including his racist views.

The novel incorporates two different storylines: the story of Hilton's father and the story of Hilton (or Hilly, as he is nicknamed) himself, who falls into a 'forbidden' love. The story jumps forward into the late '70s and we see the progression and development of Hilton's life, after he becomes a news reporter who focuses on cases of racial friction. Wise Men is narrated by Hilton himself and it is a credit to Nadler's skilful writing that Hilton's voice matures and develops throughout the book. I am eagerly awaiting Nadler's next book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Purpleheart TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
'In the spring of 1947, when I was twelve years old, a passenger plane crashed near Narragansett Bay.'

Stuart Nadler's first novel starts with a plane crash which will change the life of the protagonist, Hilly Wise. His lawyer father, Arthur Wise, is an ambulance chaser but is able to turn a tenuous link to one of the dead passengers into enough clients for a class action suit. The reputation he gain from the big win on this case leads to a meteoric rise in his career and he becomes immensely rich. The Wise family's ordinary life in four rented rooms in New Haven is exchanged for new houses as their prosperity improves. in 1952 Arthur Wise buys a beach house in Bluepoint, Cape Cod near the Kennedy compound, a very lovely 'corner of the world' that comes with a resident servant Lem Dawson. It is Arthur Wise's treatment of Lem that causes a large shift in their father/son relationship. Lem is black, capable and an artist but is called 'boy' by Arthur whose own rags to riches story has left him keen to impress in his nouveau riche lifestyle.. Part I of the novel centres on a summer at Cape Cod as Hilly observes his father at work, his increasingly distant mother reinventing herself and forms friendship of sorts with Lem and fall in love with Savannah, Len's niece.

Hilly's relationship with his father and his unrequited love for Lem's niece, Savannah, is at the core of this novel. In Part II, twenty years have passed and in the 1970s Hilly has become a reporter 'tracking down racial intimidation, violence, voter suppression,' still filled with guilt over the events of that summer, and still hoping to meet Savannah again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jood TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 22 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Hilton (Hilly) Wise is the son of wealthy lawyer, Arthur Wise, who made millions suing airlines. It is 1952 when the Wise family, newly rich, move to wealthy Cape Cod, but whilst his parents embrace their new found wealth, Hilly is uncomfortable with it. When, at the age of seventeen, he meets Savannah, the niece of their "houseboy" Lem he cannot know that this will be the start of a lifetime's obsession. His love remains unrequited, but many years later Hilly decides to actively seek her out. I did find this obsession far-fetched and irritating given that he had met Savannah only two or three times, and she certainly wasn't smitten.

This is a very well written novel, with several well-drawn, likeable characters and beautifully descriptive passages. Having said that, I had expected more, based on the blurb: " a sweeping story of love and regret..." I wouldn't describe it as "sweeping" as that implies something much grander than it actually is; as usual the publishers use so much hyperbole, but the book doesn't live up to it. This was a time of great civil unrest in America....race riots and the Vietnam War, for instance, had to have had an effect on the main characters, but there is only the briefest suggestion of these events; this I found disappointing. It is quite a slow read, ponderous at times, and slightly too long, but overall I found the characters and settings appealing enough to keep me going.

Would I read more of this author's work? Yes I probably would.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Angus Jenkinson VINE VOICE on 23 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I think that characterizing this as a tale of forbidden love is misleading, and may put off some readers. There are two plotlines. One concerns the relationship of a son with his father, an obsessive, powerful, insanely rich lawyer, developed from childhood until advanced maturity. Angry, embarrassed, dismissive, the son rejects the father's money and affection/control. The second plotline, influenced by the first, is the lifetime impossibility of relationship of the white son with a poor black woman, daughter of an alcoholic never-quite has-been as the result of acts by his father. It's also a discovery of new meanings as age allows the rediscovery of the past in a new light. It's not quite Philip Roth or John Updike but it's a very good novel.
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