NINE WIVES by Dan Elish

NINE WIVES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Daydreams of that perfect someone, a romantic wedding and a better job: sounds like another chick-lit summer read, but this time our heroine is a he.

At 32, Henry Mann is a little anxious. Everyone he knows seems to be tying the knot; this year alone he’s been to eight weddings. But ever since his breakup with Sheila, his love life has been as barren as the Gobi Desert. It becomes quickly evident that Henry’s real life would be more gratifying if he spent less time on his quixotic fantasy life, which runs the gamut from elaborate wedding scenarios to winning a Tony for the musical he’s writing. Each of the novel’s chapters bears the name of a fantasy woman, though only two are appropriate bridal material. Tamar is exciting but flaky; she dumps Henry after their first date, claiming she’s a lesbian, but in fact she just used him to make her married boyfriend jealous. Christine, though funny and smart, has a unibrow, and that, according to Henry’s standards, is a deal breaker. No matter: Tamar gives marching orders to her married man, and soon she and Henry have a real-life relationship. She helps him with his musical (an adaptation of The Great Gatsby featuring such soon-to-be hits as “My Pink Suit” and “My Honey Got Money”) and encourages him to explore his long-hidden, hipper self, which results in a yellow stripe dyed in his dark hair. Can it last? Should Henry propose? And what about Christine, still waiting in the wings? Henry is an affable character, and the novel has its fair share of laugh-out-loud moments, though occasionally the narrative is weighed down by one too many of his musings. Moreover, despite the long masturbation scene, there is something disappointingly feminine about this male perspective.

A light comedic debut that’s all too familiar for the genre.

Pub Date: Aug. 3rd, 2005
ISBN: 0-312-33943-7
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2005