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An Available Man: A Novel | [Hilma Wolitzer]

An Available Man: A Novel

When Edward Schuyler - a modest and bookish sixty-two-year-old science teacher - is widowed, he finds himself ambushed by female attention. There are plenty of unattached women around, but a healthy, handsome, available man is a rare and desirable creature. Edward receives phone calls from widows seeking love, or at least lunch, while well-meaning friends try to set him up at dinner parties. The problem is that Edward doesn’t feel available. He’s still mourning his beloved wife, Bee, and prefers solitude and the familiar routine of work, gardening, and bird-watching.
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Publisher's Summary

When Edward Schuyler - a modest and bookish sixty-two-year-old science teacher - is widowed, he finds himself ambushed by female attention. There are plenty of unattached women around, but a healthy, handsome, available man is a rare and desirable creature. Edward receives phone calls from widows seeking love, or at least lunch, while well-meaning friends try to set him up at dinner parties. The problem is that Edward doesn’t feel available. He’s still mourning his beloved wife, Bee, and prefers solitude and the familiar routine of work, gardening, and bird-watching. But then his stepchildren surprise him by placing a personal ad in The New York Review of Books on his behalf. Soon the letters flood in, and Edward is torn between his loyalty to Bee’s memory and his growing longing for connection. Gradually, reluctantly, he begins dating (“dating after death,” as one correspondent puts it), and his encounters are variously startling, comical, and sad. Just when Edward thinks he has the game figured out, a chance meeting proves that love always arrives when it’s least expected.

©2012 Hilma Wolitzer. All rights reserved. (P)2012 AudioGo

What the Critics Say

“Wolitzer [writes] of the pain of losing a partner and its aftermath . . . with remarkable insight, grace, and humor. A warm, keenly incisive view of life’s vicissitudes by a writer too seldom heard from.” (Booklist)

“Families are Wolitzer’s turf, and she’s an observant and often humorous chronicler of domesticity and the stuff that comes with it: illness, loss, boredom, crankiness, and, on good days, love.” (Publishers Weekly)

“I absolutely loved An Available Man (and not, I swear, because I’m partial to widowers). For a start, Edward Schuyler is someone I desperately wish I could invite to my next dinner party (and not, I swear, because there are half a dozen women I’d like him to meet). This is a book to savor page by page, filled with astute detail, both comic and mournful, about what it’s like to be middle-aged and lonely yet not give up on the search for love.” (Julia Glass, author of The Widower’s Tale and the National Book Award-winning Three Junes)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (71 )
5 star
 (23)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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4.0 (57 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (57 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Molly-o Seattle 02-17-12
    Molly-o Seattle 02-17-12 Member Since 2007

    English major. Love to read

    HELPFUL VOTES
    286
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    "Lovely book, easy read, wonderful characters"

    It's February and this book fit right into my wanting it to be summer. It is a warm, thoughtful story about Edward who is just a great guy and all of his angst with losing his wife and finding a new life. The story just transported me to where it resided and I didn't want it to end.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SomervilleWhereElse Somerville, MA 03-05-12
    SomervilleWhereElse Somerville, MA 03-05-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Beautifully written"

    This is a lovely book. So beautifully written about a poignant time of the characters' lives that while I was listening, I was quoting lines and parts to friends. It was so great to listen to that I was sorry when the book came to an end. I have listened to other books by Hilma Wolitzer and didn't feel as strongly positive about them. This one is truly special. I also want to say that though it has sad parts, it isn't a sad book.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Book Lover Virginia 05-07-12
    Book Lover Virginia 05-07-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Very satisfying"
    If you could sum up An Available Man in three words, what would they be?

    Coming to terms


    Any additional comments?

    I imagine you have to be a certain age and at a certain point in your life to enjoy this, but if you have ever been in a deep, long-lasting relationship you will find yourself relating to Edward and his joys and missteps.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer MESA, AZ, United States 04-22-12
    Amazon Customer MESA, AZ, United States 04-22-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Poignant Story of Love, Loss, and Moving Forward"

    This is a touching tale about the unexpected loss of true love when Edward's beloved wife dies from cancer and he has to find a way, daily, to keep going without her. His step-children and friends repeatedly try to fix him up with available women, but he needs time to grieve and recover. I have read a couple of other books by Hilma Wolitzer and have liked them all. She writes beautifully and creates characters that are fully developed human beings. The book is not maudlin at all and I laughed as many times as I had a lump develop in my throat. The narrator was just right for this book, sensitively rendering Edward's and the other characters.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra LI New York 08-20-12
    Sandra LI New York 08-20-12 Member Since 2010

    Bookworm

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Boring"

    Nothing about this book was interesting. There was no story. I had the impression that I was listening to somebody's diary.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gail Bristol, CT, United States 05-28-12
    Gail Bristol, CT, United States 05-28-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pleasant Listen"

    This is a nice, easy going enjoyable book. Enjoyable but not memorable
    Perfect for the gym!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Las Vegas, NV, United States 04-21-12
    Patricia Las Vegas, NV, United States 04-21-12 Member Since 2010

    Mother of 3, grandmother of 6, retired nurse and substance abuse counselor. Thrilled to have the time to read or listen to books again.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "a nice read"

    Not gripping or a page turner but i don't think it was meant to be, but it was a pleasant read even though the story line was a sad one. I enjoyed the main character and his processing of his grief, living it, walking through it and coming out on the other side. Living through your grief can never be an easy thing but this character did so in a healthy a way as possible and in the end finding love and a life again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Senior Citizen #8 Midwest USA 04-08-12
    Senior Citizen #8 Midwest USA 04-08-12 Member Since 2010

    SC

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Fortunate Man"
    If you could sum up An Available Man in three words, what would they be?

    tender, touching, memorable


    What other book might you compare An Available Man to and why?

    If I Stay, I think that's the title. Both books deal with life and loss and the opportunities to live again. This book about a widower in his 60s, the other about a teenage girl in a serious accident.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scenes on Martha's Vineyard as he starts to live again, weighs possibilities, and pitfalls.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    He's such a nice man that I don't think Hollywood would be the right market for this. A stage play.


    Any additional comments?

    Wonderful narrator. This book would seem more like

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Bird 08-21-12
    Laurie Bird 08-21-12 Member Since 2009
    ratings
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    6
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    Overall
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    Story
    "sweet story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The story moved along nicely and the narrator was good


    What was one of the most memorable moments of An Available Man?

    The first time Ollie and Edward met at her cousins party


    Have you listened to any of Fred Sullivan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan's Mom Sacramento, Ca 04-17-12
    Ryan's Mom Sacramento, Ca 04-17-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Entertaining and enjoyable"
    Would you try another book from Hilma Wolitzer and/or Fred Sullivan?

    Yes, I would. I liked the book and the narrator was fine. Didn't love it but didn't hate it either. Just in the middle.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    She didn't make Ollie a very likeable character to me so I was bummed when he ended up with her.


    Did Fred Sullivan do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    An adequate job. I personally don't like male narrators trying to do feminine voices.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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