The Old Romantic
By Louise Dean
(Riverhead Trade, Paperback, 9781594485633, 352pp.)
Publication Date: February 7, 2012
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"A highly entertaining, vivid evocation of love and marriage." The New York Times Book Review
It’s been decades since Nick cast off his impossible, contentious, embarrassingly working-class parents: gruff, stingy, explosive Ken, and Pearl, who seemed to revert to a primal state of nature after a divorce that both of them managed to blame on Nick. Enjoying the life of the country gentleman that he’s made for himself with impeccably turned-out Astrid and her daughter, Laura, Nick has kept only the slenderest connection to his brother, Dave, who’s stuck with the role of ambassador in a family that’s long settled into cold war.
Then Ken decides that the year of his death has arrived, and kicks off an ill-conceived quest to reunite his family before he meets his fate. Bringing to this tinderbox the park it needs, Louise Dean, award-winning author of Becoming Strangers and several more acclaimed novels, sends up the whole clan, each of them fatally flawed, yet saved by hidden grace, and illuminates their clashes of generation, gender, class, and temperament, in a riotous, compassionate, and truly memorable family saga.
Louise Dean is the author of three previous novels: Becoming Strangers, which was awarded the Betty Trask Prize in 2004 and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award, This Human Season and The Idea of Love. She lives in Kent, England with her three children.
“A highly entertaining, vivid evocation of love and marriage… Dean’s characters have the rough edges and surprising grace of real people, and her fierce humanism animates every page.” –The New York Times Book Review
“Remarkably astute… Dean has perfect pitch [and] she sneaks in just enough grace to give her characters a chance to prove Thomas Wolfe wrong: As long as you don’t expect anyone to get out the good china, you can go home again.” –The Washington Post
“Glorious hell breaks loose in the devilish, dauntingly talented hands of this award-winning writer.” –Elle
“Razor-sharp.” –Entertainment Weekly
“Brilliant… [Dean’s] insights are dazzling… Characters rake themselves through self-revelations, and the prose leaps with a fervor for the present moment.” –Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Vividly imagined and surprisingly funny… Call it sentimental if you like, but it’s also sweet and genuine and universally true.” –Associated Press