THE LADIES' MAN by Elinor Lipman


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A romantic comedy of errors by the novelist whose previous labors in this vineyard (Isabel’s Bed, 1995, etc.) have established her as a master hand. Harvey Nash is the sort of fellow your mother warned you about. Genial, good-hearted, and sincere, he genuinely likes the company of women and is attentive to their moods and concerns. All the worse for the women who fall for him, then, since he’s an incorrigible bachelor who can—t commit himself—almost literally—on pain of law. Harvey left his native Boston quite abruptly on the evening of March 11, 1967—and it’s no coincidence that that was the night his engagement to Adele Dobbin was to have been announced at a big party at the Copley Plaza. When he stopped running, Harvey found himself in California, where he settled in Los Angeles (as “Nash Harvey—) and established a successful career in advertising. Almost 30 years later, he has a live- in girlfriend, Dina, who wants (very badly) to settle down and get pregnant. But, again, Harvey just can—t see his way clear. So now he reverses course and heads back to Boston to look up Adele—but not before hooking up with Cynthia John, a sharp-eyed investor who sits next to him on the plane. In Boston, Adele is still unmarried and lives in a kind of bitch-goddess convent with Lois and Kathleen, her equally unattached sisters. She’s understandably less than thrilled to find Harvey on her doorstep, but Lois (who always had a thing for him) tries to welcome him back into the fold. Meanwhile, Dina is cruising beaches and coffee-bars in search of an (unwitting) semen donor, and Harvey and Cynthia are having some drama of their own. The course of true love is seldom a straight line, true enough. But can it be a series of overlapping circles? Funny, dumb, good-natured, predictable, and slick: Lipman knows what she wants to do and does it very well.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-679-45694-5
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1999


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