The national bestseller, named a best book of the year by "The New Yorker," "NPR," "Slate," "The Economist," "The New Republic," "Bookforum," "Baltimore City Paper," "The Daily Beast," "National Journal," "San Francisco Chronicle," "Chicago Reader, " "Cosmopolitan," "Elle," "Buzzfeed" and many others.Read more...
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The national bestseller, named a best book of the year by "The New Yorker," "NPR," "Slate," "The Economist," "The New Republic," "Bookforum," "Baltimore City Paper," "The Daily Beast," "National Journal," "San Francisco Chronicle," "Chicago Reader, " "Cosmopolitan," "Elle," "Buzzfeed" and many others. A "New York Times" Editors' Choice and a "Washington Post" Notable book.
"Adelle Waldman's debut novel, "The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.," scrutinizes Nate and the subculture that he thrives in with a patient, anthropological detachment. Ms. Waldman has sorted and cross-categorized the inhabitants of Nate's world with a witty, often breathtaking precision..." Maria Russo, "The New York Times"
"Adelle Waldman just may be this generation's Jane Austen" "The Boston Globe"
A debut novel by a brilliant young woman about the romantic life of a brilliant young man.
Writer Nate Piven's star is rising. After several lean and striving years, he has his pick of both magazine assignments and women: Juliet, the hotshot business reporter; Elisa, his gorgeous ex-girlfriend, now friend; and Hannah, "almost universally regarded as nice and smart, or smart and nice," who holds her own in conversation with his friends. When one relationship grows more serious, Nate is forced to consider what it is he really wants.
In Nate's 21st-century literary world, wit and conversation are not at all dead. Is romance? Novelist Adelle Waldman plunges into the psyche of a flawed, sometimes infuriating modern man one who thinks of himself as beyond superficial judgment, yet constantly struggles with his own status anxiety, who is drawn to women, yet has a habit of letting them down in ways that may just make him an emblem of our times. With tough-minded intelligence and wry good humor "The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P." is an absorbing tale of one young man's search for happiness and an inside look at how he really thinks about women, sex and love."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-04-08
- Reviewer: Staff
Brooklynite Nathaniel Piven, “a product of a postfeminist, 1980s childhood,” is the modern male—inheritor of a dating world where the enduring gender imbalance gives him the upper hand. But when it comes to relationships, he’s achingly aware of the hidden traps and unsought responsibility of this power. Nate hates feeling guilty over the many women he hurts (female tears in this novel flow with a tenacious persistence, to Nate’s irritation). His well-intentioned missteps with reporter Juliet and editorial assistant Elisa earn him tireless tsk-tsk reprimands and a rep for being “the kind of guy women call an asshole.” When he begins dating a seemingly perfect-for-him writer named Hannah, we wonder whether Nate will adapt or strike out yet again. Hannah is nice, smart, and makes him feel “at home,” but will Nate, who seems to feed off misconnecting with women, make the right relationship move—or is it yet another “dick move”? An acute study of present-day struggles with intimacy, Waldman seems to suggest that love is too constricting a tie for the 21st century, and that, perhaps, a different kind of connection might better define the contemporary couple. She navigates the male psyche and a highly entertaining hipster mindset, and sneaks in an unexpected, understated ending that brings this pulpy read a satisfying poignancy. Agent: Elyse Cheney, the Elyse Cheney Agency. (July)
A literary darling looking for love
“I want to see your book collection.” So goes a classic pickup line from Nathaniel (Nate) Piven, an up-and-coming literary star in Brooklyn whose relationships populate Adelle Waldman’s The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. Reminiscent of classic realist novels from authors like Graham Greene or Henry James, this delightful debut jumps headfirst into the mind of one man, revealing what he really thinks about women, dating and success.
From the beginning, readers know that Nate Piven is an anxious guy. He’s anxious about his upcoming book (which sold for a considerable advance, but not quite as much as the sexually explicit memoir from fellow hot, young writer Greer Cohen). He’s anxious about the dinner party thrown by his ex-girlfriend Elisa (who definitely is still in love with him) and he’s anxious about asking out Hannah, Elisa’s good friend. Meanwhile, he’s constantly bumping into his flock of exes, beautiful and brainy literary assistants who seem to come off some sort of assembly line—one can’t help but wonder if Nate’s struggle to commit stems from his having too much nostalgia for his own past.
Nate is a nearly unlikable, yet frighteningly realistic, character—the sort of neurotic, conceited, selfish boor who might have sprung from the mind of Woody Allen. At one point in the novel, Nate’s friend questions why women always want to be in a serious relationship while men rarely do, and it’s this perplexing thought that permeates the story. Does Nate date Hannah because he’s terrified of being alone with his own company? Will he ever have the capacity to develop feelings for another person?
Much of the strength of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. lies in Waldman’s attention to detail, which builds a completely believable depiction of the New York 20- and 30-something dating scene. Although the novel’s ending unfortunately trails off, leaving readers curious about Nate’s ultimate fate, Waldman succeeds in revealing one man’s narcissistic impulses and shortcomings as a boyfriend.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE
Read an interview with Adelle Waldman about The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.