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1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

An Available Man

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An Available Man Cover

ISBN13: 9780345527547
ISBN10: 0345527542
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this tender and funny novel, award-winning author Hilma Wolitzer mines the unpredictable fallout of suddenly becoming single later in life, and the chaos and joys of falling in love the second time around. When Edward Schuyler, a modest and bookish sixty-two-year-old science teacher, is widowed, he finds himself ambushed by female attention. There are plenty of unattached women around, but a healthy, handsome, available man is a rare and desirable creature. Edward receives phone calls from widows seeking love, or at least lunch, while well-meaning friends try to set him up at dinner parties. Even an attractive married neighbor offers herself to him.

The problem is that Edward doesn’t feel available. He’s still mourning his beloved wife, Bee, and prefers solitude and the familiar routine of work, gardening, and bird-watching. But then his stepchildren surprise him by placing a personal ad in The New York Review of Books on his behalf. Soon the letters flood in, and Edward is torn between his loyalty to Bee’s memory and his growing longing for connection. Gradually, reluctantly, he begins dating (“dating after death,” as one correspondent puts it), and his encounters are variously startling, comical, and sad. Just when Edward thinks he has the game figured out, a chance meeting proves that love always arrives when it’s least expected.

With wit, warmth, and a keen understanding of the heart, An Available Man explores aspects of loneliness and togetherness, and the difference in the options open to men and women of a certain age. Most of all, the novel celebrates the endurance of love, and its thrilling capacity to bloom anew.

Review:

"Wolitzer (Summer Reading) looks at life after death; the life, that is, of a youngish widower after the death of his much loved wife. Families are Wolitzer's turf, and she's an observant and often humorous chronicler of domesticity and the stuff that comes with it: illness, loss, boredom, crankiness, and, on good days, love. Her main character, science teacher Edward Schuyler, is likable and believable, both in his grief and his confusion when interested women start coming out of the woodwork. When one turns out to be from his past, things take a slightly melodramatic turn, and though never escalating to a level of serious danger, the threat is there. Or perhaps the threat of a threat; it feels as if Wolitzer wants to heighten and defuse at the same time. Of course 'domestic' doesn't mean safe, and we're supposed to share in Edward's unease and in his hope that all will be well, but the effect is more irritating than suspenseful. When tension is packed off in a few pages in favor of a happy ending for all, it's both a relief — we've gotten fond of Edward and want the best for him — and a disappointment, because of how contrived it feels." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

US

About the Author

Hilma Wolitzer is the author of several novels, including Summer Reading, The Doctor’s Daughter, Hearts, Ending, and Tunnel of Love, as well as a nonfiction book, The Company of Writers. She is a recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award.  She has taught writing at the University of Iowa, New York University, and Columbia University.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Bookwomyn, February 7, 2012 (view all comments by Bookwomyn)
What an enjoyable read! As a woman 'of a certain age' who did her share of dating after being widowed, many of the situations in this book strike a chord. Edward is such a likable character and the women in his life know it. I started this book on a lazy morning and didn't stop reading til I finished. It's a lovely companion for a rainy day - or a plane ride - or bedtime read.
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Denise Morland, January 25, 2012 (view all comments by Denise Morland)
In this quiet little book about love and loss Hilma Wolitzer has the winning formula for a novel worked out. Make your readers fall in love with the main character, make them adore him and you can't go wrong. By the time Edward Schuyler is done telling the reader about his ill-fated romance with Laurel (she left him at the altar) and how Bee (his recently deceased wife) was the love of his life, you want nothing less than happiness for him. He is so gentle, kind, and clueless that you can forgive him his indiscretions.

When Edwards beloved wife, Bee, falls terminally ill she tells him "Look at you. They'll be crawling out of the woodwork." Oblivious, he has no idea what she's talking about until months after her death when the phone begins ringing with lonely women looking for an available man. His stepchildren only escalate things when they place a personal ad for him in the New York Times Book Review. Soon women are, indeed, crawling out of the woodwork and Edward has no idea what to do with them.
As you would expect, An Available Man is by turns funny, heartbreaking, and live affirming. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a feel-good, uplifting read.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780345527547
Author:
Wolitzer, Hilma
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:
20120131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.7 x 1.14 in 0.88 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

An Available Man Used Hardcover
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Product details 304 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345527547 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Wolitzer (Summer Reading) looks at life after death; the life, that is, of a youngish widower after the death of his much loved wife. Families are Wolitzer's turf, and she's an observant and often humorous chronicler of domesticity and the stuff that comes with it: illness, loss, boredom, crankiness, and, on good days, love. Her main character, science teacher Edward Schuyler, is likable and believable, both in his grief and his confusion when interested women start coming out of the woodwork. When one turns out to be from his past, things take a slightly melodramatic turn, and though never escalating to a level of serious danger, the threat is there. Or perhaps the threat of a threat; it feels as if Wolitzer wants to heighten and defuse at the same time. Of course 'domestic' doesn't mean safe, and we're supposed to share in Edward's unease and in his hope that all will be well, but the effect is more irritating than suspenseful. When tension is packed off in a few pages in favor of a happy ending for all, it's both a relief — we've gotten fond of Edward and want the best for him — and a disappointment, because of how contrived it feels." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , US
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