The Ladies' Man
By Elinor Lipman
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375707315, 272pp.)
Publication Date: May 9, 2000
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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 his preference 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.
Elinor Lipman is the author of seven books: the novels The Pursuit of Alice Thrift, The Dearly Departed, The Ladies' Man, The Inn at Lake Devine, Isabel's Bed, The Way Men Act, Then She Found Me, and a collection of stories, Into Love and Out Again. She has been called "the diva of dialogue" (People) and "the last urbane romantic" (Chicago Tribune). Book Magazine said of The Pursuit of Alice Thrift, "Like Jane Austen, the past master of the genre, Lipman isn't only out for laughs. She serves up social satire, too, that's all the more trenchant for being deftly drawn."
Her essays have appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine, Gourmet, Chicago Tribune, and The New York Times’ Writers on Writing series. She received the New England Booksellers' 2001 fiction award for a body of work.
Advance praise for The Ladies' Man
"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."
"I have not read an American writer who can do what Elinor Lipman does: take a poignant situation and transform it, in a moment of instant recognition, into something as wryly perfect as a New Yorker cartoon. The Ladies' Man is full of charm, verbal sparkle, and funny, genial sex. I adored it. Every page. Definitely her best."