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The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. Paperback – 24 Apr 2014

3.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Windmill Books (24 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099558998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099558996
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Deeply clever...a writer to watch." (Jonathan Franzen)

"With this novel, Waldman has done the heretofore impossible: get at the core of the modern female state through the roiling inner monologue of a man who loves to hate women. Her protagonist is well-meaning, and that may be the most sobering part. Nate is almost too real. Mark my words: this book will inspire laughter, chills of recognition and flights into lesbianism." (Lena Dunham)

"Adelle Waldman’s The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. is that most unusual and wondrous of things: a novel that wants to educate our hearts. Beneath her highly graceful and entertaining prose, Waldman has a moral project in mind, she seeks to extend our sympathies and (with great charm) shame us into becoming better versions of ourselves. Her novel is constantly witty and profound. It is also a reminder that novels can be far more than pleasant diversions, they can be highly sophisticated tools that help us to grow up." (Alain de Botton)

"I can't remember the last novel this good about being young and smart and looking for love in the big city. It’s as if one of the top tier nineteenth-century novelists zeroed in their social x-ray eyes onto present-day Brooklyn. I bet untold readers will be squirming with uncomfortable recognition; many more will be thanking Adelle Waldman for this hilarious, big-hearted, ruthlessly intelligent, and ridiculously well-written novel." (Charles Bock (author of the bestselling Beautiful Children))

"Deliciously funny, sharply observed, elegantly told, The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. is the best debut novel I’ve encountered in years, the best novel about New York, and the best novel about contemporary manhood and the crazy state of gender roles and ‘contemporary’ life. With a pitch-perfect balance of satire and sympathy, reminiscent of Mary McCarthy’s The Group, Joshua Ferris’ Then We Came to the End, and Jay McInerney’s Brightness Falls, Adelle Waldman’s voice is nevertheless entirely – and unabashedly – her own." (Joanna Smith Rakoff (author of A Fortunate Age))

Book Description

Bold, touching and very, very funny – a debut novel by a brilliant young woman about the coming-of-age of a brilliant young literary man

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Adelle Waldman's debut The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. Has been called "the best debut novel of the summer." Now, whether it is or not I cannot say as I've not read all the debuts, but it certainly is first-rate. Simply couldn't put the book down. Part social commentary and part character study it is an astute, witty, elegant look at modern day romance.

Seems Brooklynite Nate Piven would be a catch for any woman - he's smart, an on-the-way-up author, and he really likes women. Problem is he always seems to let them down, which has won him an unenviable reputation. His past relationships have been marked by missteps, usually on his part. He does have the best intentions but things always go awry - just ask Juliet or Elisa. "Contrary to what these women seemed to think, he was not indifferent to their happiness. And yet he seemed, in spite of himself to provoke it."

Waldman traces the literary scene, Nate's relationships with various women, and his friendships, most notably with Aurit who tries to offer advice. This author is quick to take on apt descriptions of those who fail and persevere again in today's attempts to achieve and maintain intimacy. Finding love in the big city, we are reminded is not an easy task.

When he was around 25 Nate thought that women were unavailable - they were either in a relationship, didn't care to be in one or had set their sites on other goals. When he reached his 30's Nate thought he was surrounded by women who only cared about relationships. Then, at last he meets Hannah, a writer who seems to have been made in heaven just for him. But, will he be able to do everything (or at least most things) right this time around?

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. Is to be enjoyed - it's a contemporary comedy of manners filled with insights and penned in lovely prose. Can't wait to see what Adelle Waldman will come up with next.

- Gail Cooke
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An account largely of an unsuccessful relationship of Nathaniel P but with looks back to previous relationships and forward to something that looks more successful.

This is entirely credible - I found I could believe the account of the Brooklyn literary scene and Nathaniel's friends as well as in Nathaniel and his various girl friends. I also found it quite thought provoking.

But I didn't find it as entertaining as other readers - perhaps because I moved into would-be psychological analysis of what was making Nathaniel tick and why things were not working out for him.

The answer might be: he needs in a relationships someone with a very healthy narcissism such as he himself displays - a relationship is just not going to work if too much of the compromise is on one side.

That's quite a satisfying moral to walk away with - but then if I wanted to read narratives with morals of that kind, perhaps I should have been reading account of counselling or psychotherapy, not a novel about would-be novelists in Brooklyn.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I feel a shade sorry for Nathaniel Piven. There is a female novelist writing who appears to know almost more about him than he knows about himself. She knows about his thought processes, his (many) girlfriends, and his sexual proclivities (in rather more detail than seems absolutely necessary). She writes well and interestingly about his chosen profession, and about Brooklyn where he lives. She also presents her readers with some rather juicy stuff about the women he knows and has a cruel eye for the inadequacies of his friends and colleagues.
In the acknowledgements Adelle Waldman generously thanks a number of people who were involved in the creative process. As I know nothing much about New York (except what I have seen in old movies), and nothing at all about the latest generation of its inhabitants, I assume that her satire hits the mark. Even in my ignorance I enjoyed many amusing moments neatly described.
The reviewer in The Sunday Business Post offers terms such as "darker and more profound" and suggests that "this is a novel that anyone interested in how we live now should read". I agree. There is an almost nihilistic perception of humanity masked behind the astute observation, even a touch of desperation. But I have to be careful here as I am from a generation that prefers more implication and a less explicit approach and allowing more tolerance of human foibles that afforded by younger observers than myself.
Perhaps this novel is the latest version of romantic fiction. At least the hero appears to end the story with a very attractive companion.
The cover has an endorsement by Jonathan Franzen. That is good enough for me!
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Format: Hardcover
If you like Woody Allen movies and smart east coast dialogue, and you don't object to a slender plot with an egocentric 'hero', then this is a début novel that might appeal.

Nate is the thirty-something intellectual son of immigrant parents. A promising writer, he lives in a seedy Brooklyn apartment, eking out the advance for his first novel which is about to be published. He keeps getting involved with attractive, clever women - as long as they're not cleverer than him. But he's suffering from a kind of ennui and has rather gone off the idea of further romantic entanglements; he just can't face the extrication process yet again. Ladies: keep your hands firmly by your sides - you *will* want to slap Nate. Here are some quotes to give you a flavour of the writing:

Nate, in response to his friend's order of a healthy pizza: "Maybe where you come from, they call that pizza. Here in the United States, we call it a grassy knoll."

"The park was a liberal integrationist's wet dream: multiracial, multiethnic, multiclass."

On a successful author: "Greer's manner of speaking was not merely flirty but flirty like a teenage girl with bubblegum in her mouth and a tennis skirt and tanned thighs."

This is Love and The City, and a rather enjoyable read it is too.
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