Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Nick Podehl is such an accomplished actor that he literally becomes our hero, the beleagured Nate Piven who is brilliant in his field but not quite up to snuff in his personal life.  Currently residing in Michigan Podehl has received several “best voice” awards from AudioFile Magazine as well as other honors.  While he has narrated a number of audio books for this listener his reading of Nathaniel P. is beyond reproach, thoroughly enjoyable, and well worth a second listen.

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 or heard all the debuts, but it certainly is first-rate.  Simply couldn’t stop listening.  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 offers descriptions of those who fail and persevere again in today’s attempts to achieve and maintain intimacy.  We are reminded that finding love in the big city 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, and many thanks to Nick Podehl for a banner listen!

- Gail Cooke

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