THE THREE WEISSMANNS OF WESTPORT by Cathleen Schine

THE THREE WEISSMANNS OF WESTPORT

KIRKUS REVIEW

Already recognized for her own witty romantic comedies of manners, Schine (The New Yorkers, 2008, etc.) joins the onslaught of Austen imitators.

Upper-middle-class, mostly Jewish New Yorkers take the place of British gentry in this Sense and Sensibility riff. After 48 years of marriage, 78-year-old Joseph Weissman leaves his 75-year-old wife Betty for Felicity Barrow, a younger woman with whom he works. Although Josie (as his stepdaughters call him) repeatedly swears he wants to be generous to Betty, Felicity manipulates him into closing Betty’s credit-card accounts and forcing her out of the Weissmans’ Upper West Side apartment she herself paid for decades ago. Fortunately, kindly Cousin Lou lends Betty his abandoned cottage in Westport, Conn., and Betty’s daughters, outraged on their mother’s behalf although they don’t stop loving Josie, move in with her. Romantic, never married but often in love, 49-year-old Miranda is in dire financial straits herself, as scandals concerning the memoirists she represents threaten to bankrupt her literary agency. Sensible Annie, briefly married and long divorced, has successfully raised two sons while working at a privately endowed library. Now living in stoic loneliness, she has begun to fall in love with famous author Frederick Barrow, who happens to be Felicity’s brother and whose grown offspring jealously guard his affections. In Westport, Annie is hurt when Frederick practically ignores her at a gathering at Cousin Lou’s. Meanwhile, Miranda has an affair with the handsome young actor next door and falls seriously in love with his two-year-old son. Feisty Betty begins to refer to herself as a widow. In true Austen fashion, love and money conquer all, although Schine adds some modern sorrow and a slightly off-putting disdain for her male characters, who range from narcissistically foolish to, in what passes for the romantic hero, pragmatic and unoffending.

Infectious fun, but the tweaked version never quite lives up to the original.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-374-29904-0
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Sarah Crichton/Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2009




IF YOU LIKED THIS OSCAR NOMINATED FILM, YOU’LL LOVE THIS BOOK:

Nonfiction SAVAGE HARVEST by Carl Hoffman
by Carl Hoffman
Nonfiction JACKPOT by Jason Ryan
by Jason Ryan
Fiction THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir
by Andy Weir

MORE BY CATHLEEN SCHINE

FictionFIN & LADY by Cathleen Schine
by Cathleen Schine
FictionTHE NEW YORKERS by Cathleen Schine
by Cathleen Schine
FictionSHE IS ME by Cathleen Schine
by Cathleen Schine

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionTHE VIEW FROM PENTHOUSE B by Elinor Lipman
by Elinor Lipman
FictionTHE GAP YEAR by Sarah Bird
by Sarah Bird