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The Family Man


The Family Man

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    Available in PDF Format | The Family Man.pdf | English
    Elinor Lipman(Author)

THE FAMILY MAN is classic Elinor Lipman - irresistible, incisive and pure pleasure to read.

Henry Archer's ex-wife is unhinged. And impossibly demanding. And recently widowed. A hysterical phone call from her is the last thing his calm, well-ordered life needs. But there is one happy side-effect: the chance to get back in contact with his beloved step-child, her daughter, with whom he lost touch when their wildly misbegotten marriage ended long ago. Henry is a lawyer, an old-fashioned man, gay, successful, lonely. Thalia is now twenty-nine, a would-be actress, estranged from her crackpot mother and about to embark on a risky plan to further her career by posing as the girlfriend of a struggling actor down on his romantic luck. When Thalia and her complicated social life move into the basement of Henry's Manhattan home, she finds a champion in her long-lost father, and Henry finds that out of chaos comes life, and maybe even love.

'Elinor Lipman's social satire is Larry David without the high-pitched whine...It's hard (even annoying) to have to put her novels... down. Delightful... snappy and smart' (LA Times )'Delightful... just because something is 'light' doesn't mean it's not masterful...exquisite... Lipman mesmerized me. She hypnotized me. I admit it freely: I fell victim to the Elinor Lipman Effect' (Washington Post)'Sparkling...original, funny, achingly human characters' (Entertainment Weekly)'Elinor Lipman's tenth book finds her at the top of her singular game... Lipman's comic touch remains light but never slight. She writes dialogue that sizzles with playful, effortless wit' (National Public Radio)

2.2 (2825)
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Book details

  • PDF | 320 pages
  • Elinor Lipman(Author)
  • Headline Review; UK First Edition; 1st printing. edition (11 Jun. 2009)
  • English
  • 2
  • Other books
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Review Text

  • By Una, UK on 26 May 2017

    Elinor Lipman is always a pleasure to read. This is not her best - the Ladies' Man was my favourite - but still witty and amusing.

  • By Walter Hypes on 14 May 2009

    In this Austen-esque comedy of manners, filled with a bubbly assortment of likeable characters, The Family Man focuses on the middle-aged lawyer Henry Archer who finds himself caught up in a new kind of parenting situation that seems to be totally beyond control. After sending a letter of condolence to his ex-wife Denise, after her new husband suddenly dies of a heart attack, Henry doesn't realize that he's surreptitiously thrown Denise a lifeline. Finally catching up after several years, their meeting is full of recriminations even as Henry continues to wonder why he'd been young and selfish when he'd suddenly relinquished his rights as a parent. Adding to Henry's complicated retirement is Thalia, the coat-check girl who works at his local hair salon and who turns out to be his long-lost step daughter, and who innocently became the collateral damage in Henry's rather messy divorce from Denise. Thalia, an aspiring actress, appears well adjusted and content, but as the two pore their heart out to one another over a glass of wine (without Denise's knowledge), Thalia unfurls her secret plan to enter in to type of faux engagement current horror luminary and budding young movie star Leif Dumont.Leif who aches to break into the big time, but so does Thalia, who will stop at nothing to use this as a way to get exposure. Determined to act like she's in love, Leif is trying to do his best to reciprocate in a way that repackages him as a desirable and attractive actor. Henry is initially supportive of Thalia's plan and glad officially re-meet with Thalia, but he chooses keeps the bourgeoning friendship with his neglected and estranged daughter from Denise who is still in the bad books for mortally offending everyone with thoughtless remarks at the funeral of her husband. While Denise whines about being left with nothing, she hooks Henry up with lovable Todd who eventually becomes the aging lawyer's voice of reason in his urbane and somewhat genteel topsy-turvy life.Meanwhile, Lipman infects her novel with a jumble of different personalities, all proving to be Henry's nemesis and threatening his new role as dissembler, withholder, and covert social operator. Although Henry wants to make good in the promises he has made to himself with respect to the good deeds of early retirement, his new step-daughter - who suddenly ensconces herself in his maisonette apartment - threatens to become far too much of a distraction and is in danger of giving him his fair share of headaches.Cleverly lampooning the New Yorkers, Lipman's novel bursts with energy and quirky characters as Henry unexpectedly finds true love and a soul mate in Todd who still hasn't told Lillian, his octogenarian mother that he's g*y. Packed with silly situations, clichéd but lovable characters, and incidences that almost defy logic, I wanted to like this novel more than I did. Still, Lipman's joke-fuelled dialogue propels the story lighting along and her pop-culture references give the story a contemporary feel. This is a witty, sly and self-deprecatory adventure into the world of a lawyer cum diplomat who finds love in a new kind of family. Ultimately, the novel's penchant for the innocent and the author's manner of humanizing even the most bizarre incidences make The Family Man a celebration the absurdities of the human condition and the willingness to endure even the most bizarre of circumstances for the sake of those whom we love. Mike Leonard May 09.

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