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Modern Lovers Hardcover – 30 Jun 2016

3.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph (30 Jun. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718181484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718181482
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 3.3 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 308,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

** 'It's the beautifully drawn, vibrant characters that make this smart, compelling novel so irresistible.' Liane Moriarty **

From the New York Times Bestselling author of The Vacationers, Emma Straub brings us a sharply observed tale of modern love...

Twenty years later and they were supposed to be grown-ups...

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.
Summer in the city . . .

College friends Elizabeth, Zoe and Andrew had a band, grew up, settled in New York and now they were still living round the corner from one another (and in each other's pockets).

One hot summer as their kids come of age, making those first hesitant steps into adulthood, it's the parents who find that the lives they've so carelessly stitched together begin to slowly unravel . . .

(from publisher's description)

Hugely talented... intelligent holiday reading (Woman's Hour, BBC Radio 4)

Smart and entertaining (Stylist)

Hugely talented . . . if you are looking for some intelligent holiday reading then this is the book for you (BBC 4 Woman’s Hour)

Straub writes with such verve and sympathetic understanding of her characters ... Reading this novel has all the pleasures of reading one of Anne Tyler's compelling family portraits (The New York Times)

[Modern Lovers] has the smart, cool sensibility of Straub's other novels, and you're sure to love this one just as much (Elle)

A funny and insightful look at love and relationships (Good Housekeeping)

A lovely, satisfying early-summer read (EW.com)

Straub's novel might be set in well-trod modern literary territory (the parenting world of brownstone Brooklyn), but what she does with this familiar milieu is smart and fresh, offering new insights into the lives of people all around us (Brooklyn Magazine)

Thoughtful and hilarious, Modern Lovers proves growing up doesn't stop in adulthood (Real Simple)

[Straub] sets her observational wit on three middle-aged friends (former college bandmates) who find themselves in a crisis of identity as their now-grown children head off to college themselves (Huffington Post)

What happens when you age out of your cool? It's a topic that filmmaker Noah Baumbach has explored, and Straub is his literary counterpart. . . With the multigenerational structure, it would be easy to compare Straub to other masters of the genre like Meg Wolitzer or Jennifer Egan, but she's already a master in her own right after The Vacationers, so Modern Lovers should prove to be a witty romp (The Millions)

Wise and often hilarious, Modern Lovers is a testament to how the passions and secrets of our youth can last well into adulthood (Buzzfeed)

[Straub is] a precise and observant writer whose supple prose carries the story along without a snag. Straub's characters are a quirky and interesting bunch. . . it's a pleasure spending time with them (Kirkus (starred review))

Straub spins her lighthearted but psychologically perceptive narrative with a sure touch as she captures the vibes of midlife, middle-class angst and the raging hormones of youth. . . Readers will devour this witty and warmly satisfying novel (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

Devilishly observed (Booklist (starred review))

Sprinkled with humour and insight, this is a Brooklyn novel with heart (Library Journal (starred review))

Emma Straub is consistently excellent (Book Riot)

Emma Straub is quickly making a name for herself as an author who can deftly toe the line between literary and popular writing-her books are easy to breeze through, but there's also food for thought for the discerning reader

(Bookpage)

Praise for The Vacationers (-)

Now this is what I call good holiday reading. Straub writes beautifully and amusingly . . . hard to beat for sheer charm and gentle wit (Daily Mail)

Emma Straub puts the fun back in dysfunction (San Francisco Chronicle)

There's nothing more addictive than a darkly funny dysfunctional domestic drama. Straub's novel-set during a fraught family vacation in Mallorca-is pretty much the perfect beach read (Entertainment Weekly)

Charming and absorbing, this is a novel that demands to be read in long, satisfying gulps (Maggie Shipstead, author of Seating Arrangements)

Emma Straub is a magician, full of brilliance and surprise (Lorrie Moore, author of Bark)

A gorgeous and witty storyteller (Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray Love)

Witty and big-hearted . . . leaves you smiling for days (Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette)

For those unable to jet off to a Spanish island this summer, reading The Vacationers may be the next-best thing. . . . [A] gorgeously written novel . . . When I turned the last page, I felt as I often do when a vacation is over: grateful for the trip and mourning its end (The New York Times Book Review)

Delicious . . . richly riveting . . . The Vacationers offers all the delights of a fluffy, read-it-with-sunglasses-on-the-beach read, made substantial by the exceptional wit, insight, intelligence and talents of its author (People (four stars))

I loved The Vacationers; funny and poignant and beautifully observed (Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You)

Straub's novel is cast from the same mould as the likes of Liza Klaussmann's Tigers in Red Weather and Maggie Shipstead's Seating Arrangements . . . The Vacationers is a holiday read in every way with a gently witty narrative that slips down as easily as a beachside cocktail (Independent)

Emma Straub is a gorgeous and witty storyteller (Elizabeth Gilbert)

Intimate, epic, beautifully observed (Jennifer Egan)

Witty and big-hearted ... leaves you smiling for days (Maria Semple)

Charming and absorbing (Maggie Shipstead)

Funny, poignant and beautifully observed (Jojo Moyes)

Emma Straub is a magician, full of brilliance and surprise (Lorrie Moore)

From the Back Cover

'Has all the pleasures of Anne Tyler's compelling family portraits . . . with a Lorrie Moore-like sense of the absurdities of contemporary life' Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.
Summer in the city . . .
Elizabeth, Zoe and Andrew met at college, had a band, grew up, settled in New York and somehow twenty years passed by. Still living round the corner from one another (and in each other's pockets) they're watching as their kids come of age one hot summer. But just as the kids start making those first hesitant steps into adulthood, so it's the parents who find that the lives they've so carelessly stitched together begin to slowly unravel . . .

'Really entertaining. The characters are complex and likeable. It's one of those stories that makes you realise that life really does run away from you' Guardian

'Immersive, rich, screamingly funny' USA Today

'Straub's characters thrum off the page. The sort of witty and relatable summer title you'll devour with a contented smack of the lips' Irish Independent

'Funny yet tart, warm yet incisive. I adored it' Red

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

See all Product description

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By prisrob TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Jun. 2016
Format: Paperback
Ditmas Park in Brooklyn, the older neighborhood with large homes, family oriented and where everyone knows everyone else. We meet the characters in this book, and their life unfolds over a long lazy summe. The characters each reveal their own story, and their perceptions of others stories.

We meet Elizabeth, a real estate agent, and her husband, Andrew, who has never really found his choices in life. His family left him a bit of money so he can afford to look at what is next. Elizabeth is the real bread winner. Harry, their son, who is beloved and keeps to himself. Elizabeth's best friend whom she and Andrew met in college, Zoe and her partner and wife,Jane. They own a restaurant no are very busy all the time. They have a daughter, Ruby, who is rebellious and looking for her life . As the summer proceeds, the wheels seem to come off their lives, Zoe is think of divorce, Elizabeth is not happy with status quo. Harry and Zoe become than friends, and no one really knows what will occur next.

This is their story, and each one gives their best, and it's good enough.

Recommended. prisrob 06-28-16
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By sevenpin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 May 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
This novel examines the nature of friendship, relationships, sex and love, as they affect two families living in Brooklyn, New York. Elizabeth, Andrew, Zoe and Lydia met in college and together formed their band, Kitty's Mustache. They were the height of cutting edge cool. Zoe is a lesbian, Lydia kept her distance from the others, whilst Elizabeth and Andrew became a couple. The band fell apart, Elizabeth and Andrew got married, and Lydia forged a separate successful career.

Now Andrew and Elizabeth live close to Zoe and her wife, Jane, preparing to confront the fact that nothing has prepared them for middle age. They face problems associated with shortage of money, raising children, and the rise of marital discord. Ruby and Harry, the children from their respective marriages start a relationship which causes their parents some discomfort. The couples struggle to come to terms with the past, worry about the future, the rising tensions in their relationships as their lives fall apart and try to come to terms with the evolving nature of their identities.

The characters in the novel can be irritating at times but this is often a reflection of real life. Straub casts a sensitive and insightful eye over the nature of marriage, the problems with adjusting to getting older, questions of identity, and coming to terms with the past. It can be hard to accept that it is now the turn of your children to be all that you thought you were, and appropriate the mantle of being young, cool hipsters. I found this a light, engaging and entertaining read. Many thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph for an ARC.
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Format: Paperback
After more than twenty years together, Andrew and Elizabeth’s marriage is still strong, although it has its ups and downs, and their son Harry seems to be the perfect 17-year-old. On the other hand, Zoe and Jane’s marriage is in trouble while their daughter Ruby has been rejected from all the colleges she applied to and doesn’t seem to have any plans for the future. As both parents and children struggle with their own problems, the past resurfaces as Zoe, Elizabeth and Andrew are asked for the rights of a song they created when they were in college. The trio were part of a band with Lydia, who went on to become a famous rock star and died of an overdose when she was only 27.
This is a very well-written, relatable and thought-provoking novel about love, friendship, family and finding your own identity. For once, I didn’t have a favourite character as they all have deep flaws and can be irritating so I couldn’t find myself siding with any of them, although I enjoyed reading Harry and Ruby’s developing love story. There are no surprising moments or twists but there is enough drama (and some funny scenes) to keep you glued to the page.
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By Lovely Treez TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 May 2016
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Although witty in parts, this novel didn't really engage me despite my best efforts. There was sunshine for once and I love reading in the garden but Modern Lovers was not calling out to be read. It's a shame as the writing shines, at times, but is perhaps more suited to a short, snappy magazine article format rather than a novel where it seemed like a small fish in a vast pond.
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By 💥 Vivid TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 May 2016
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Based on the blurb I expected (hoped) to enjoy this much more than I did but in the end it was a fairly average read and has taken me the best part of a month to get through it. It's not terrible, I just couldn't get along with the characters. We're of similar age and I had expected to relate to them a bit but I just didn't care about most of them or their families to be honest. It did pick up a bit towards the end but it's nowhere near as amusing as the blurb suggests. A few smiles were raised but it's not as cute as the cover makes it out to be.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have this on my Kindle and have not had time to read it all yet.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an entertaining read if you like witty and sharp social commentary set in a milieu of the 'new' middle classes (chefs, musicians) in Brooklyn. Straub is a good observer and dissects her subjects with an acute eye and pen.

The problem is, though, that her material here is better suited to a magazine column than a novel: there's little narrative pull or drive and while her one-liners are often very funny ('the thing about Dust was that he wasn't smart or interesting except if you were counting skateboarding or oral sex'), a whole book made up of them gets wearisome very fast if there's no substance to hold them together.

So I like Straub's style, I'm just unconvinced that the novel form is the best showcase for it - 3.5 stars for potential and for making me giggle.
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