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
“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)
English major. Love to read
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.
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.
Coming to terms
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.
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.
Mother of 3, grandmother of 6, retired nurse and substance abuse counselor. Thrilled to have the time to read or listen to books again.
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.
tender, touching, memorable
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.
The scenes on Martha's Vineyard as he starts to live again, weighs possibilities, and pitfalls.
He's such a nice man that I don't think Hollywood would be the right market for this. A stage play.
Wonderful narrator. This book would seem more like
This is the type of book that I wouldn't mind getting for free from the library. I liked several of the characters such as the great grandmother (his mother-in-law) and the lead character, Edward, and his diseased wife, Gladys.
I feel that this book will have strong appeal to many widows and widowers, however, not my favorite book. I consider it an "ok" novel.
Early in her book,Hilma Wolitzer presents her reader with the ultimate plot complication… a death. And from there, a tried and true plot line which is as old as cuneiform--how do the survivors cope afterwards. And, in some hands holding the quill, it can be a very tiresome and predictable contrivance.
However, she is a master at dialogue and therefore character development. I always feel that I'd read a 1,000 page novel about someone going to pick up bread at the grocery store if the author makes me care about the protagonist and their journey. Wolitzer definitely does that.
Also, Fred Sullivan is an excellent narrator.
You'll enjoy this book, I promise.
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