By Stuart Nadler
(Reagan Arthur Books, Hardcover, 9780316126489, 352pp.)
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
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Almost overnight, Arthur Wise has become one of the wealthiest and most powerful attorneys in America. His first big purchase is a simple beach house in a place called Bluepoint, a town on the far edge of the flexed arm of Cape Cod.
It's in Bluepoint, during the summer of 1952, that Arthur's teenage son, Hilly, makes friends with Lem Dawson, a black man whose job it is to take care of the house but whose responsibilities quickly grow. When Hilly finds himself falling for Lem's niece, Savannah, his affection for her collides with his father's dark secrets. The results shatter his family, and hers.
Years later, haunted by his memories of that summer, Hilly sets out to find Savannah, in an attempt to right the wrongs he helped set in motion. But can his guilt, and his good intentions, overcome the forces of history, family, and identity?
A beautifully told multigenerational story about love and regret, Wise Men confirms that Stuart Nadler is one of the most exciting young writers at work today
Stuart Nadler is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he was awarded a Truman Capote Fellowship and a Teaching-Writing Fellowship. Recently, he was the Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin. His fiction has appeared in The Atlantic. He is the author of the story collection The Book of Life.
PRAISE FOR WISE MEN:
"Surprising...The story stretches over both Wise men's lifetimes and fills them with resonant complications...expertly wrought."—Janet Maslin, New York Times
"A historical novel with the gusto of Gatsby."—People
"Much of this complex and honest novel is about the possibility of redemption for our past actions. But the emotionally searing sections revolve around Hilly's ambitious, tyrannical father, who is endowed with a mixture of such uplifting and upsetting qualities that you're constantly sifting through secrets and motivations, trying to understand him-and getting sucked into the story in the process."—Leigh Newman, Oprah.com
"Nadler is a gifted storyteller."—Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly
"Simple, powerful and a conclusion that is not only surprising but deeply satisfying."—Karen M. Thomas, Dallas Morning News
"Genuinely moving."—Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe
"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, Booker-winning author of Bring Up the Bodies and Wolf Hall
"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 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
"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 New York Times bestseller The Starboard Sea
"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 New York Times bestseller The Language of Flowers
"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's first novel zooms and dips like an airplane with a trick pilot, one in complete control of his loop-de-loops. 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 OTHER PEOPLE WE MARRIED and LAURA LAMONT'S LIFE IN PICTURES
"Nadler's sprawling saga is many things...But at its heart it's the story of the complex, love/hate relationship between a father and son that grips the reader and won't let go until the final explosive page...it never fails in its searing portrayal of messy, complicated family angst."—The Cleveland Plain Dealer