A straight-talking comic novel with a silver-tongued anti-hero.The re-appearance of Nash Harvey on the doorstep of the Dobbin sisters - attractive red-headed spinsters Kathleen, Adele and Lois - thirty years after he deserted Adele on the evening of their engagement party, is the opening of this superb romantic comedy. Debonair and pathologically unreliable, Nash is about to discover that scorned women do not make gracious hostesses.It's not just Adele who's upset by this incorrigible ladies' man: Lois - the only sister who ever married, to a man she swiftly divorced after finding out his penchant for women's clothes - has always had a crush on Nash. And could it be coincidence that Kathleen finds herself propelled, after all these single years, into the arms of Lorenz, the doorman of the building where she runs a lingerie store?Full of wit, mischief and elegance, The Ladies' Man is the work of a brilliant comic novelist.
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Soon after Nash Harvey, incurable womanizer and failing jingle composer, arrives at the Boston home of the Dobbin sisters, he is struck with a casserole dish. This isn't all that 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 three sisters, all of whom has done the best to settle into spinsterhood. Unintentionally, he leads everyone he meets to a truer knowledge of him- or herself, 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, graying hair, and disastrous dates, yet they never lose their hope or their capacity for love. A gourmet casserole of a book--drama, humor, and understanding in equally generous portions. --Matthew BaylisFrom the Inside Flap:
From the bestselling author of "The Inn at Lake Devine ("Rivals her own best work for its understanding of the way smart, opinionated people stumble toward happiness"--Glamour) and "Isabel's Bed ("It's Fannie Farmer for the soul . . . delivered in a delicious style that is both funny and elegant"--USA Today) comes a darkly romantic comedy of manners that confirms Elinor Lipman's appointment to the Jane Austen chair in modern American sensibility.
Thirty unmarried years have passed since the barely suitable Harvey Nash failed to show up at a grand Boston hotel for his own engagement party. Today, the near-bride, Adele Dobbin, and her two sisters, Lois and Kathleen, blame Harvey for what unkind relatives call their spinsterhood, and what potential beaus might characterize as a leery, united front. The doorbell rings one cold April night. Harvey Nash, older, filled with regrets (sort of), more charming and arousable than ever, just in from the Coast, where he's reinvented himself as Nash Harvey, jingle composer and chronic bachelor, has returned to the scene of his first romantic crime. Despite the sisters' scars and grudges, despite his platinum tongue and roving eye, this old flame becomes an improbable catalyst for the untried and the long overdue.
The refined and level-headed Adele finds herself flirting with her boss--on public television. Entrepreneurial Kathleen is suddenly drinking cappuccino with Lorenz, the handsome doorman at the luxury high-rise where she owns a lingerie boutique. And Lois, the only sister to have embarked on the road to matrimony and, subsequently, divorce, revives her long-cherished notion that Harvey abandoned Adele rather than indulge hispreference for another Dobbin.
Both comic and compassionate, The Ladies' Man has all of Lipman's trademark wit, wattage, and social mischief--with an extra bite.
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