The Old Romantic: A Novel by Louise DeanThe Old Romantic: A Novel by Louise Dean

The Old Romantic: A Novel

byLouise Dean

Paperback | February 7, 2012

Pricing and Purchase Info

$15.30 online 
$17.00 list price
Earn 77 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store

Out of stock online

Not available in stores

about

"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.
Loading
Title:The Old Romantic: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 7.88 × 5.13 × 0.99 inPublished:February 7, 2012Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1594485631

ISBN - 13:9781594485633

Look for similar items by category:

Reviews

Bookclub Guide

INTRODUCTIONA long-estranged family discovers that blood is thicker than water in this domestic comedy.It's been a couple of 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 teenage daughter, Laura, Nick has kept only the slenderest family connection to his brother, Dave, who's stuck with the role of ambassador in a family that's long settled into cold war. But then Nick's father decides that the year of his death has arrived, kicking off an ill-conceived quest to reunite his family…ABOUT LOUISE DEANLouise 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.DISCUSSION QUESTIONSKen earns the title of “old romantic” because he’s enthralled with ideals about the way life, particularly relationships, should work. How does this play out in his love life, in family life, and in the way he interacts with the world? Does the conflict prove more constructive or destructive to his overall happiness?Were there parts of the novel that made you squirm? Which moments and conflicts provoked the strongest reaction while you were reading? Which have stayed with you?How do class issues play a role in the narrative and in the characters’ lives? Compare Nick and Dave’s struggle with class and give examples of how their respective social standings dictate their daily interactions-particularly with their family.During his reunion with Nick, Ken insists that “family is always with you.” How does this statement bear out by the end of the novel? Is it proven or disproven?The drive to Wales provides entry into the characters’ inner monologues and gives readers a taste of their volatile family life. What does this trip represent for each person in the car? Does it call to mind family vacations that you’ve had?Reconciliation is a recurring theme in the novel. What forms does it take and how do the various characters achieve (or fail to achieve) it?To what extent did this story make you reconsider your own relatives and family dynamics? Do you see any members of your family in the Goodyews?Many works of contemporary literature showcase dysfunctional families. Which other novels does The Old Romanticcall to mind?With which character did you most identify? Who earned the most sympathy?Where do you think the members of the family will find themselves in 10 years? 20? How might these particular legacies of divorce, anger, and infidelity play out in the next generation?How does death drive the story? What does mortality mean to various characters in the novel? Is there a pronounced difference in the way the male and female characters address it?

Editorial Reviews

“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