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Love and Other Impossible Pursuits

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Love and Other Impossible Pursuits Cover

ISBN13: 9781400095131
ISBN10: 1400095131
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

With wry candor and tender humor, acclaimed novelist Ayelet Waldman has crafted a strikingly beautiful novel for our time, tackling the absurdities of modern life and reminding us why we love some people no matter what.

For Emilia Greenleaf, life is by turns a comedy of errors and an emotional minefield. Yes, she's a Harvard Law grad who married her soul mate. Yes, they live in elegant comfort on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. But with her one-and-only, Jack, came a stepson — a know-it-all preschooler named William who has become her number one responsibility every Wednesday afternoon. With William, Emilia encounters a number of impossible pursuits — such as the pursuit of cab drivers who speed away when they see William's industrial-strength car seat and the pursuit of lactose-free, strawberry-flavored, patisserie-quality cupcakes, despite the fact that William's allergy is a figment of his over-protective mother's imagination.

As much as Emilia wants to find common ground with William, she becomes completely preoccupied when she loses her newborn daughter. After this, the sight of any child brings her to tears, and Wednesdays with William are almost impossible. When his unceasing questions turn to the baby's death, Emilia is at a total loss. Doesn't anyone understand that self-pity is a full-time job? Ironically, it is only through her blundering attempts to bond with William that she finally heals herself and learns what family really means.

Review:

"How a five-year-old manages to make the adults in his life hew to the love he holds for them is the sweet treat in this honest, brutal, bitterly funny slice of life. When Emelia's day-old daughter, Isabel, succumbs to SIDS, her own life stalls. She can't work; she can't sleep; Central Park, once her personal secret garden, now is a minefield of happy mother-child dyads. Since Isabel's death, husband Jack's only solace for the guilt of breaking up his sexless marriage with Carolyn for Emelia's (now-absent) passion and love is joint custody of William, now five. What Emelia cannot bear most are Wednesdays, when she must cross the park to collect William at the 92nd Street Y preschool and take another shot at stepmotherhood. Carolyn, William's furious mother and a renowned Upper East Side OB/GYN, lives to nab Emelia for mistakes in handling him. Carolyn's indicting phone calls raise the already sky-high tension in Jack and Emelia's home, but they don't compare with Carolyn's announcement that, at age 42, she is pregnant. The news pushes Emelia to confess to Jack two things she shouldn't. William is charmingly realized, and Waldman (Daughter's Keeper) has upper bourgeois New York down cold. The result is a terrific adult story." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"In the opening scene of 'Love and Other Impossible Pursuits,' Ayelet Waldman's compelling and artfully drawn new novel, Emilia Greenleaf is making her way through Central Park on her way to pick up her stepson, William, from daycare. The park, her refuge since childhood, holds the solitude she craves — if only she can make it past the playgrounds. Emilia's infant daughter, Isabel, has recently died,... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"[This] may also be the first chick-lit novel...that in addition to being a romantic, shocking and sometimes painful page-turner does the unthinkable: it actually says something new and interesting about women, families and love." Chelsea Cain, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Compelling and artfully drawn....The novel is beautifully paced and unfolds seamlessly, but as it builds, there's a disconcerting sense that Emilia is not telling the whole story — and she isn't." The Washington Post

Review:

"The beauty of Waldman's writing is her ability to...mak[e] Emilia a sympathetic and likable character even at her most frustrating. Waldman avoids contrivances and easy answers even as she moves the novel toward a surprising and rewarding conclusion." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"Despite a predictable plot and a heroine who is not always likable, Waldman manages to offer a quick and graceful read. And through her vivid descriptions, Manhattan, especially Central Park, comes beautifully alive." Seattle Times

Review:

"[P]rose that can be funny, but is more often stilted and graceless....It's not that the plot coincides with reality; it's that the author's personality keeps intruding on her character's." Newsday

Review:

"[A] hyperventilating dither, made somewhat more interesting knowing the author's backstory: Ayelet Waldman...wrote a provocative essay last year...declaring that she loves her husband...more than her four kids. Way to keep the fray going. (Grade: C+)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"Love and Other Impossible Pursuits is neither a trite nor a frivolous love story. It is original and refreshing, told in a surprisingly honest voice. It is the voice of Ayelet Waldman, one that we look forward to hearing again." South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Review:

"[A] wonderful book, engaging and startlingly honest....[T]he story is so compelling...that you stick by [Emilia] almost out of loyalty. And it's worth it." Providence Journal

Review:

"The characters...are well-drawn and complex....While the subject matter seems grim, there is plenty of humor, and Waldman is a razor-sharp observer of modern life. Her fast-paced and endearing novel is a keeper." San Antonio Express-News

Review:

"[T]he 32 chapters of Love click by briskly; lubricated by plenty of dialogue and plenty of sex, some funny and some carrying more than a note of exhibitionism....offers some felicitous writing and a satisfying end." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"Love and Other Impossible Pursuits can be gobbled up in just a sitting or two, zipping along toward its dependably cathartic climax." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"It's Emilia's relationship with her stepson, not her husband, that forms the book's backbone....And no matter Emilia's state (furious, resentful, at peace or otherwise), she's always sharp, wickedly funny, opinionated and cheerfully bitter, lending depth and energy to this wise, entertaining book." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Love and Other Impossible Pursuits is clearly out to irritate some Mommy groups. It may also be the first chick-lit novel...that in addition to being a romantic, shocking and sometimes painful page-turner does the unthinkable: it actually says something new and interesting about women, families and love." New York Times

Review:

"Ayelet Waldman...looks past headlines and into the heart. What she finds there is hope for us all." Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina

Review:

"I thought the heroine was a great accomplishment....And William is a triumph." Diane Johnson, author of Le Divorce

Review:

"I read this book in one sitting while lying on my favorite couch. And I'll read it again on a future road trip. And I'll read it for a third time in the bathtub. Ayelet Waldman is that good." Sherman Alexie, author of Ten Little Indians

Review:

"[T]he most riveting and sharply rendered novel I've read in years....Once you begin this book, there will be no putting it down. Once you've finished, you will never forget it." Julie Orringer, author of How To Breathe Underwater

Review:

"Waldman makes the reader laugh at the spectacle of a mother trying to manufacture love for one child, while making the reader tearful about the loss of another child. In the end, this novel conjures up the magical balance of both." Susan Straight, author of Highwire Moon

Review:

"A beautiful novel. If you are not moved to tears, then your heart is carved from wood." Andrew Sean Greer, author of The Confessions of Max Tivoli

Synopsis:

Waldman's provocative new novel — now in paperback — provides an emotionally gripping, unflinchingly honest look at what it's like to live and love in the real world.

Synopsis:

Ever since she was a little girl, Emilia believed that she was intended for only one man — her other half. She was sure that upon seeing each other for the first time, they would know they were meant to be. That Jack could have married someone else before Emilia found him had never entered her mind. She certainly didn't bank on William, his precocious five-year-old boy who — now that he is Emilia's step-son — has become her responsibility every Wednesday afternoon. An obsessive know-it-all and his mother's mouthpiece, he is always one step ahead of her as she negotiates the mystifying world of the Manhattan pre-schooler.

Synopsis:

In this moving, wry, and candid novel, widely acclaimed novelist Ayelet Waldman takes us through one womans passage through love, loss, and the strange absurdities of modern life.

Emilia Greenleaf believed that she had found her soulmate, the man she was meant to spend her life with. But life seems a lot less rosy when Emilia has to deal with the most neurotic and sheltered five-year-old in New York City: her new stepson William. Now Emilia finds herself trying to flag down taxis with a giant, industrial-strength car seat, looking for perfect, strawberry-flavored, lactose-free cupcakes, receiving corrections on her French pronunciation from her supercilious stepson - and attempting to find balance in a new family thats both larger, and smaller, than she bargained for. In Love and Other Impossible Pursuits Ayelet Waldman has created a novel rich with humor and truth, perfectly characterizing one womans search for answers in a crazily uncertain world.

About the Author

Ayelet Waldman is the author of Daughter's Keeper and of the Mommy-Track mystery series. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Believer, Child magazine, and other publications, and she has a regular column on Salon.com. She and her husband, the novelist Michael Chabon, live in Berkeley, California, with their four children.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

smiley reader, September 2, 2011 (view all comments by smiley reader)
Even though Emilia and her precocious step-son, William spend only Wednesday afternoon and every other weekend together, Ayelet Waldeman weaves a story about love and grace around the framework of their fragile relationship. She is a master of language and leads the reader to a realization of how a preschool boy can teach the adults around him about "the impossible pursuit" of love.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
geoff.wichert, August 16, 2009 (view all comments by geoff.wichert)
This novel begins with a depiction of what used to be called hysteria -- a pitch-perfect account rich in details, but something supposedly only a woman and mother could understand. Waldman's accomplishment, as she goes on, is to open her protagonist's world to us so vividly that we enter her consciousness and not only comprehend but share her feelings. Perfectly capturing our best contemporary understanding of human nature, she gives us characters who are neither heroic nor evil, but flawed and each determined and trying to do her or his best. In the end, the pieces fall together unexpectedly and we recognize the courage it takes to live in the real world.
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(7 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400095131
Author:
Waldman, Ayelet
Publisher:
Anchor Books
Author:
Waldman, Ayelet Gilbert
Subject:
General
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Stepfamilies
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
General Family & Relationships
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20070231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
8.06x5.28x.76 in. .60 lbs.

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Love and Other Impossible Pursuits Used Trade Paper
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$3.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Anchor Books - English 9781400095131 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "How a five-year-old manages to make the adults in his life hew to the love he holds for them is the sweet treat in this honest, brutal, bitterly funny slice of life. When Emelia's day-old daughter, Isabel, succumbs to SIDS, her own life stalls. She can't work; she can't sleep; Central Park, once her personal secret garden, now is a minefield of happy mother-child dyads. Since Isabel's death, husband Jack's only solace for the guilt of breaking up his sexless marriage with Carolyn for Emelia's (now-absent) passion and love is joint custody of William, now five. What Emelia cannot bear most are Wednesdays, when she must cross the park to collect William at the 92nd Street Y preschool and take another shot at stepmotherhood. Carolyn, William's furious mother and a renowned Upper East Side OB/GYN, lives to nab Emelia for mistakes in handling him. Carolyn's indicting phone calls raise the already sky-high tension in Jack and Emelia's home, but they don't compare with Carolyn's announcement that, at age 42, she is pregnant. The news pushes Emelia to confess to Jack two things she shouldn't. William is charmingly realized, and Waldman (Daughter's Keeper) has upper bourgeois New York down cold. The result is a terrific adult story." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[This] may also be the first chick-lit novel...that in addition to being a romantic, shocking and sometimes painful page-turner does the unthinkable: it actually says something new and interesting about women, families and love."
"Review" by , "Compelling and artfully drawn....The novel is beautifully paced and unfolds seamlessly, but as it builds, there's a disconcerting sense that Emilia is not telling the whole story — and she isn't."
"Review" by , "The beauty of Waldman's writing is her ability to...mak[e] Emilia a sympathetic and likable character even at her most frustrating. Waldman avoids contrivances and easy answers even as she moves the novel toward a surprising and rewarding conclusion."
"Review" by , "Despite a predictable plot and a heroine who is not always likable, Waldman manages to offer a quick and graceful read. And through her vivid descriptions, Manhattan, especially Central Park, comes beautifully alive."
"Review" by , "[P]rose that can be funny, but is more often stilted and graceless....It's not that the plot coincides with reality; it's that the author's personality keeps intruding on her character's."
"Review" by , "[A] hyperventilating dither, made somewhat more interesting knowing the author's backstory: Ayelet Waldman...wrote a provocative essay last year...declaring that she loves her husband...more than her four kids. Way to keep the fray going. (Grade: C+)"
"Review" by , "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits is neither a trite nor a frivolous love story. It is original and refreshing, told in a surprisingly honest voice. It is the voice of Ayelet Waldman, one that we look forward to hearing again."
"Review" by , "[A] wonderful book, engaging and startlingly honest....[T]he story is so compelling...that you stick by [Emilia] almost out of loyalty. And it's worth it."
"Review" by , "The characters...are well-drawn and complex....While the subject matter seems grim, there is plenty of humor, and Waldman is a razor-sharp observer of modern life. Her fast-paced and endearing novel is a keeper."
"Review" by , "[T]he 32 chapters of Love click by briskly; lubricated by plenty of dialogue and plenty of sex, some funny and some carrying more than a note of exhibitionism....offers some felicitous writing and a satisfying end."
"Review" by , "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits can be gobbled up in just a sitting or two, zipping along toward its dependably cathartic climax."
"Review" by , "It's Emilia's relationship with her stepson, not her husband, that forms the book's backbone....And no matter Emilia's state (furious, resentful, at peace or otherwise), she's always sharp, wickedly funny, opinionated and cheerfully bitter, lending depth and energy to this wise, entertaining book."
"Review" by , "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits is clearly out to irritate some Mommy groups. It may also be the first chick-lit novel...that in addition to being a romantic, shocking and sometimes painful page-turner does the unthinkable: it actually says something new and interesting about women, families and love."
"Review" by , "Ayelet Waldman...looks past headlines and into the heart. What she finds there is hope for us all."
"Review" by , "I thought the heroine was a great accomplishment....And William is a triumph."
"Review" by , "I read this book in one sitting while lying on my favorite couch. And I'll read it again on a future road trip. And I'll read it for a third time in the bathtub. Ayelet Waldman is that good."
"Review" by , "[T]he most riveting and sharply rendered novel I've read in years....Once you begin this book, there will be no putting it down. Once you've finished, you will never forget it."
"Review" by , "Waldman makes the reader laugh at the spectacle of a mother trying to manufacture love for one child, while making the reader tearful about the loss of another child. In the end, this novel conjures up the magical balance of both."
"Review" by , "A beautiful novel. If you are not moved to tears, then your heart is carved from wood."
"Synopsis" by , Waldman's provocative new novel — now in paperback — provides an emotionally gripping, unflinchingly honest look at what it's like to live and love in the real world.
"Synopsis" by , Ever since she was a little girl, Emilia believed that she was intended for only one man — her other half. She was sure that upon seeing each other for the first time, they would know they were meant to be. That Jack could have married someone else before Emilia found him had never entered her mind. She certainly didn't bank on William, his precocious five-year-old boy who — now that he is Emilia's step-son — has become her responsibility every Wednesday afternoon. An obsessive know-it-all and his mother's mouthpiece, he is always one step ahead of her as she negotiates the mystifying world of the Manhattan pre-schooler.
"Synopsis" by , In this moving, wry, and candid novel, widely acclaimed novelist Ayelet Waldman takes us through one womans passage through love, loss, and the strange absurdities of modern life.

Emilia Greenleaf believed that she had found her soulmate, the man she was meant to spend her life with. But life seems a lot less rosy when Emilia has to deal with the most neurotic and sheltered five-year-old in New York City: her new stepson William. Now Emilia finds herself trying to flag down taxis with a giant, industrial-strength car seat, looking for perfect, strawberry-flavored, lactose-free cupcakes, receiving corrections on her French pronunciation from her supercilious stepson - and attempting to find balance in a new family thats both larger, and smaller, than she bargained for. In Love and Other Impossible Pursuits Ayelet Waldman has created a novel rich with humor and truth, perfectly characterizing one womans search for answers in a crazily uncertain world.

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