Friday, July 12, 2013


Adelle Waldman’s debut The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. Has been called “the best debut novel of the summer.”  Now, whether it is or not I cannot say as I’ve not read all the debuts, but it certainly is first-rate.  Simply couldn’t put the book down.  Part social commentary and part character study it is an astute, witty, elegant look at modern day romance.

Seems Brooklynite Nate Piven would be a catch for any woman - he’s smart, an on-the-way-up author, and he really likes women.  Problem is he always seems to let them down, which has won him an unenviable reputation.  His past relationships have been marked by missteps, usually on his part.  He does have the best intentions but things always go awry - just ask Juliet or Elisa.   “Contrary to what these women seemed to think, he was not indifferent to their happiness.   And yet he seemed, in spite of himself to provoke it.”

Waldman traces the literary scene, Nate’s relationships with various women, and his friendships, most notably with Aurit who tries to offer advice.  This author is quick to take on apt descriptions of those who fail and persevere again in today’s attempts to achieve and maintain intimacy.  Finding love in the big city, we are reminded is not an easy task.

When he was around 25 Nate thought that women were unavailable - they were either in a relationship, didn’t care to be in one or had set their sites on other goals.  When he reached his 30's Nate thought he was surrounded by women who only cared about relationships.  Then, at last he meets Hannah, a writer who seems to have been made in heaven just for him.  But, will he be able to do everything (or at least most things) right this time around?

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. Is to be enjoyed - it’s a contemporary comedy of manners filled with insights and penned in lovely prose.  Can’t wait to see what Adelle Waldman will come up with next.

- Gail Cooke

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