The Three Weissmanns Of Westport: A Novel

Hardcover | December 28, 2012

byCathleen Schine

not yet rated|write a review

Jane Austen's beloved Sense and Sensibility has moved to Westport, Connecticut, in this enchanting modern-day homage to the classic novel

When Joseph Weissmann divorced his wife, he was seventy eight years old and she was seventy-five . . . He said the words "Irreconcilable differences," and saw real confusion in his wife's eyes.

"Irreconcilable differences?" she said. "Of course there are irreconcilable differences. What on earth does that have to do with divorce?"

Thus begins The Three Weissmanns of Westport, a sparkling contemporary adaptation of Sense and Sensibility from the always winning Cathleen Schine, who has already been crowned "a modern-day Jewish Jane Austen" by People's Leah Rozen.

In Schine's story, sisters Miranda, an impulsive but successful literary agent, and Annie, a pragmatic library director, quite unexpectedly find themselves the middle-aged products of a broken home. Dumped by her husband of nearly fifty years and then exiled from their elegant New York apartment by his mistress, Betty is forced to move to a small, run-down Westport, Connecticut, beach cottage. Joining her are Miranda and Annie, who dutifully comes along to keep an eye on her capricious mother and sister. As the sisters mingle with the suburban aristocracy, love starts to blossom for both of them, and they find themselves struggling with the dueling demands of reason and romance.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$2.00 online
$29.00 list price
Out of stock online

From the Publisher

Jane Austen's beloved Sense and Sensibility has moved to Westport, Connecticut, in this enchanting modern-day homage to the classic novelWhen Joseph Weissmann divorced his wife, he was seventy eight years old and she was seventy-five . . . He said the words "Irreconcilable differences," and saw real confusion in his wife's eyes."Irreco...

Cathleen Schine is the author of The New Yorkers and The Love Letter, among other novels. She has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, and The New York Times Book Review.

other books by Cathleen Schine

They May Not Mean To, But They Do: A Novel
They May Not Mean To, But They Do: A Novel

Hardcover|Jun 7 2016

$26.91 online$37.00list price(save 27%)
The New Yorkers: A Novel
The New Yorkers: A Novel

Paperback|Apr 29 2008

$16.59 online$24.00list price(save 30%)
Miss S.
Miss S.

Kobo ebook|May 17 2011

$9.99

see all books by Cathleen Schine
Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.31 × 6.29 × 1.24 inPublished:December 28, 2012Publisher:Farrar, Straus And GirouxLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0374299048

ISBN - 13:9780374299040

Look for similar items by category:

Reviews

Extra Content

Read from the Book

     When Joseph Weissmann divorced his wife, he was seventy-eight years old and she was seventy-five. He announced his decision in the kitchen of their apartment on the tenth floor of a large, graceful Central Park West building built at the turn of the last century, the original white tiles of the kitchen still gleaming on the walls around them. Joseph, known as Joe to his colleagues at work but always called Joseph by his wife, said the words “irreconcilable differences,” and saw real confusion in his wife’s eyes.     Irreconcilable differences? she said. Of course there are irreconcilable differences. What on earth does that have to do with divorce?     In Joe’s case it had very little to do with divorce. In Joe’s case, as is so often the case, the reason for the divorce was a woman. But a woman was not, unsurprisingly, the reason he gave his wife.     Irreconcilable differences?     Betty was surprised. They had been married for forty-eight years. She was used to Joseph, and she was sure Joseph was used to her. But he would not be dissuaded. Their history was history to him.     Joseph had once been a handsome man. Even now, he was straight, unstooped; his bald head was somehow distinguished rather than lacking, as if men, important men, aspired to a smooth shining pate. His nose was narrow and protruded importantly. His eyes were also narrow and, as he aged, increasingly protected by folds of skin, as if they were secrets.Women liked him. Betty had certainlyliked him, once. He was quiet and unobtrusive, requiring only a large breakfast before he went to work, a large glass of Scotch when he arrived home, and a small, light dinner at 7:30 sharp.     Over the years, Betty began to forget that she liked Joseph. The large breakfast seemed grotesque, the drink obsessive, the light supper an affectation. This happened in their third decade together andlasted until their fourth. Then, Betty noticed, Joseph’s routines somehow began to take on a comforting rhythm, like the heartbeat of a mother to a newborn baby. Betty was once again content, in love, even. They traveled to Tuscany and stood in the Chianti hills watching the swallows and the swift clouds of slate-gray rain approaching. They took a boat through the fjords of Norway and another throughthe Galápagos Islands. They took a train through India from one palace to the next, imagining the vanished Raj and eating fragrant delicate curries. They did all these things together. And then, allthese things stopped.     “Irreconcilable differences,” Joe said.     “Oh, Joseph. What does that have to do with divorce?”     “I want to be generous,” Joe said.     Generous? she thought. It was as if she were the maid and she was being fired. Would he offer her two months’ salary?     “You cannot be generous with what is mine,” she said.     And the divorce, like horses in a muddy race, their sides frothing, was off and running.

Bookclub Guide

Just as Jane Austen delighted readers with wise heroines and surprising turns of fate, Cathleen Schine delivers a world of wry insight in each of her novels. With The Three Weissmanns of Westport, she brings Sense and Sensibility to modern-day Connecticut, where Betty Weissmann and her two middle-aged daughters have begun living as exiles. At age seventy-five, Betty has been dumped by her husband of nearly fifty years. He and his mistress have set up housekeeping in the sumptuous Manhattan apartment that Betty had called home for most of her adult life. Her daughter Miranda-a tough-as-nails literary agent-is facing bankruptcy after a series of scandals. Her other daughter, Annie, is smitten with the brother of her stepfather's mistress. Banding together against a slew of looming crises, Betty, Miranda, and Annie find refuge in a run-down beach cottage owned by a generous cousin. While Betty discovers a wealth of personal strength, her daughters discover an intriguing, aristocratic community-whose population includes the handsome actor Kit Maybank.Raising timeless questions of the heart, The Three Weissmanns of Westport is an ideal selection for reading groups. The topics that follow are designed to enhance your experience as you discuss this captivating novel of reason versus romance.

Editorial Reviews

"And off races the sparkling, crisp, clever, deft, hilarious and deeply affecting new novel by Cathleen Schine, her best yet, The Three Weissmanns of Westport . . . Schine's homage [to Jane Austen] has it all: stinging social satire, mordant wit, delicate charm, lilting language and cosseting materialistic detail . . . Schine is clearly a writer who loves to read as much as she loves to write. And it is great fun to play English major with her." -Dominique Browning, The New York Times Book Review"Schine has been favored in so many ways by the muse of comedy . . . The Three Weissmanns of Westport is full of invention, wit, and wisdom that can bear comparison to Austen's own." -The New York Review of Books"Schine's real wit playfully probes the lies, self-deceptions, and honorable hearts of her characters." -The New Yorker"Schine sets the Austen machinery in perfect forward motion, and then works some lovely modern changes, keeping the pace going at a lively clip . . . Spotting the similarities and differences between the early 19th century and early 21st century stories is good sport, but the greater pleasure comes from Schine's own clever girls and their awkward attempts to find happiness." -The Boston Globe"Swap genteel nineteenth-century England for upscale contemporary Connecticut, add two sisters--one impulsive, one practical--and stir with lively doses of romance, domestic discord, sudden setbacks, and sublime surprises, and you get Cathleen Schine's homage to Jane Austen." -Elle"No Cathleen Schine book is without wit and sharply observed moments." -The Wall Street Journal"A geriatric stepfather falls in love with a scheming woman half his age in Schine's Sense and Sensibility-flecked and compulsively readable follow-up to The New Yorkers. Betty Weissman is 75 when Joseph, her husband of nearly 50 years, announces he's divorcing her. Soon, Betty moves out of their grand Central Park West apartment and Joseph's conniving girlfriend, Felicity, moves in. Betty lands in a rundown Westport, Conn., beach cottage, but things quickly get more complicated when Betty's daughters run into their own problems. Literary agent Miranda is sued into bankruptcy after it's revealed that some of her authors made up their lurid memoirs, and Annie, drowning in debt, can no longer afford her apartment. Once they relocate to Westport, both girls fall in love--Annie rather awkwardly with the brother of her stepfather's paramour, and Miranda with a younger actor who has a young son. An Austen-esque mischief hovers over these romantic relationships as the three women figure out how to survive and thrive. It's a smart crowd pleaser with lovably flawed leads and the best tearjerker finale you're likely to read this year." -Publishers Weekly