The Ladies' Man

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The Ladies' Man

by Elinor Lipman

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | May 15, 2000 | Trade Paperback

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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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 272 pages, 7.99 × 5.2 × 0.59 in

Published: May 15, 2000

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 037570731X

ISBN - 13: 9780375707315

Found in: Humorous

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– More About This Product –

The Ladies' Man

by Elinor Lipman

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 272 pages, 7.99 × 5.2 × 0.59 in

Published: May 15, 2000

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 037570731X

ISBN - 13: 9780375707315

Read from the Book

One In the months before Albert DeSalvo confessed to being the Boston Strangler, the three Dobbin sisters established their custom of arranging empty glass bottles like bowling pins inside their apartment door. They adopted the idea from Life, from a spread illustrating how women living alone near the crime scenes were petrified and taking precautions. The practice continues decades after the Boston Strangler confessed and died in prison, because the Dobbin sisters are cautious and intelligent women who expect the worst. The last sister to turn in checks the locks, latches the chain, and sets the booby trap of ten near-antique bottles that once held ginger ale, sarsaparilla, and root beer brewed by a defunct soft-drink company. And what''s the harm? It allows three women to sleep peacefully without sedatives, without surprises, and without expensive motion detectors. If Richard Dobbin, their brother, occasionally trips a false alarm, it is viewed as his own fault, his own stubborn resistance to calling ahead. He claims to forget between drop-in visits that they still arrange the bottles nightly. He has a key; he thinks he will slip in, sleep on the couch, leave a note on the kitchen table for the earliest riser, and be welcomed enthusiastically. The chain stops him, but, as designed, the door opens enough to trigger the pandemonium his sisters count on. "It''s me," he yells. "What''s going on? It''s me." "Richard," says one, then each of the othe
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From the Publisher

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.

About the Author

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.

Editorial Reviews

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."
--Arthur Golden


"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."
--Anita Shreve


From the Hardcover edition.

Bookclub Guide

US

1. Harvey Nash is certainly not the kind of man with whom most women would choose to become involved. Yet despite his oily loyalties, arrogance, and opportunism, he charms nearly all of the characters, to some degree, at some point in the novel. How does Harvey—now called Nash—make his way into Adele, Kathleen, and Lois'' good graces? How does he maneuver his way into the arms of an intelligent, beautiful, and successful woman like Cynthia? What is it about this type of man that continues to be attractive to women and despite their better judgment they continue to succumb to his charm?

2. To what extent does the notion of good manners prevent the Dobbins from getting rid of Nash? To what extent are all three—on some level—curious about him?

3. How does fear threaten each female character''s ability to act on her attraction to others? How does Nash confirm their fears? How does his behavior play a role in diffusing their fears?

4. How are the Dobbin sisters'' loyalties to one another threatened by Nash''s reasserting himself into their lives?

5. What role does Richard Dobbin play in the novel?

6. Perhaps one of the most hilarious scenes in The Ladies'' Man is Cynthia''s big party for Nash. How do the events leading up to the big night infuse each guest''s entrance with tension? How does dialogue up the ante once the party begins?

7. How does Kathleen handle Cynthia''s feelings for Nash? How does Kathleen and Cynthia''s friendship effect the course of the novel?

8. Nash performs one notable and noble act in The Ladies'' Man: he makes Marty Glazer jealous. What prompts this act of selflessness? Is it completely selfless? If not, how does his gesture endear him to us nonetheless?

9. How does Elinor Lipman keep us interested in so many different characters over the course of the novel? Were there characters you cared about more than others?

10. How do the characters in The Ladies'' Man highlight different ways we approach—or shrink from—love today? What aspects of modern American culture make the pursuit of romance more difficult than in the past? What aspects make it easier?

11. Comparing The Ladies'' Man and The Inn at Lake Devine

1.
Author Anita Shreve has written, "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." What issues does Elinor Lipman leaven with humor in both The Inn at Lake Devine and The Ladies'' Man? Why does humor work well in highlighting these issues in particular?

12. 2. Food plays a powerful role in both The Inn at Lake Devine and The Ladies'' Man. How do characters use food to nurture themselves and each other? How do they use food to hurt themselves and each other?

13. 3. Both The Inn at Lake Devine and The Ladies'' Man contain moments of tragedy. How are these moments treated in each novel?

14. 4. Which plot twists in each novel surprised you the most? Were the surprises believable? If they were not altogether believable, did it matter to you? Why or why not?

15. 5. In both The Inn at Lake Devine and The Ladies'' Man, Lipman''s characters find themselves in awkward social situations—for example, Natalie''s confrontation with Mrs. Berry, Adele''s discussion with Cynthia.) How do Lipman''s heroines behave in these exchanges? Why do you suppose Lipman chooses to place them in these situations?

16. 6. Love can seem elusive—especially to intelligent, independent women over thirty. In a 1986 article that rocked the nation (and prompted a pointed response in Susan Faludi''s Backlash), Newsweek asserted that a forty-year-old unmarried woman was more likely to be killed by a terrorist than to make her way to the altar. How difficult is it to find love in modern America? How do Elinor Lipman''s novels—charming, realistic, intelligent—restore our hopes?

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