The Ladies' Man Paperback – 1 Jul 1999
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When Nash Harvey, incurable womaniser and failing jingle composer, arrives at the Boston home of the Dobbin sisters, he is struck with a casserole dish. Not surprising, considering that Nash, onetime fiancé of Adele Dobbin, disappeared on the night of their engagement party, 30 years ago.
Fresh from a failed romance with a Californian reflexologist, Nash brings chaos to the Dobbins, all of whom have settled into a weary spinsterhood. Unintentionally, he leads everyone he meets to a truer knowledge of themselves, and the possibilities of a brighter future. Five distinct, but masterfully interwoven tales of the heart spin around the central, hilariously desperate mission of Nash, a man seeking to escape the inescapable.
Lipman writes with the wry authority of a latter-day Jane Austen or Henry James. Her work ripples with startling segues into the perversities of male-female relationships. Yet for all this insight, her characters are drawn with companionable warmth. This is not a book about the bold and the beautiful. Her cast inhabits a twilight of TV dinners, greying hair and disastrous dates, yet they never lose their hope, or their capacity for love. A gourmet casserole of a book--drama, humour and understanding in equally generous portions. -- Matthew Baylis
'Elinor Lipman is that rarest of things, a charming and funny writer who is also very wise. But your spouse will hate you for reading this book; you'll stay up late nights, shaking the bed with laughter.' -- Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha
'The Ladies' Man is not just flawless and delicious and hilarious - the ladies' man and all his ladies are sublime.' -- Jane Hamilton, author of A Map of the World
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The Ladies' Man is set in Boston and tells the story of the three Dobbins sisters, Adele, Lois and Kathleen, all set in spinsterhood, and Nash Harvey, the man who dumped Adele on the night of their engagement party 30 years before. It seems Nash can't move forward in his life (relationship or otherwise) without first mending ways with Adele. So he leaves his girlfriend in California, flies to Boston (and of course, makes a date with Cynthia, his plane-mate), and shows up on Adele's doorstop out of the clear blue. Thing is, Adele is not willing to forgive him. Regardless, Nash's stay in Boston has an effect on her as well as her sisters and brother, Richard, in different and funny ways. And of course, Nash's "Ladies' Man" ways are evident from the very first page.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a simple story, but very interesting and fun to see what would happen next. I recommend The Ladies' Man as a quick, light read and one that will no doubt entertain readers 100 percent. Will be reading more by Elinor, guaranteed!
The Dobbin sisters, attractive red-headed spinsters Adele, Lois and Kathleen, live together in relative harmony until Adele's ex-fiance, the incorrigible, debonair and pathologically unreliable Nash Harvey, makes a sudden reappearance on their doorstep. But Nash soon finds out that scorned women do not make gracious hostesses. Yet the re-appearance of Nash Harvey, who deserted Adele Dobbin 30 years ago on the evening of their engagement party, throws the lives of the Dobbin sisters into disarray. Not only is Adele confused and upset, Lois has always had a crush on Nash, and now skittishly dyes her hair blonde.
My only concern with The Ladies' Man was that the narrative was in present tense. This took some adjusting to, and distracted me from the story too often. However, don't let that put you off, because The Ladies' Man is still a delightful novel for when you are in the mood for something light-hearted and cheerful.