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The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.: A Novel | [Adelle Waldman]

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.: A Novel

Nate Piven is a rising star in Brooklyn’s literary scene. After several lean and striving years, he has his pick of both magazine assignments and women: Juliet, the hotshot business reporter; Elisa, his gorgeous ex-girlfriend, now friend; and Hannah, "almost universally regarded as nice and smart, or smart and nice" and who holds her own in conversation with his friends. But when one relationship grows more serious, Nate is forced to consider what it is he really wants.
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Publisher's Summary

A debut novel by a brilliant young woman about the coming-of-age of a brilliant young literary man.

Nate Piven is a rising star in Brooklyn’s literary scene. After several lean and striving years, he has his pick of both magazine assignments and women: Juliet, the hotshot business reporter; Elisa, his gorgeous ex-girlfriend, now friend; and Hannah, "almost universally regarded as nice and smart, or smart and nice" and who holds her own in conversation with his friends. But when one relationship grows more serious, Nate is forced to consider what it is he really wants.

In this 21st-century literary world, wit and conversation are not at all dead. Is romance? Novelist Adelle Waldman plunges into the psyche of a modern man - who thinks of himself as beyond superficial judgment, yet constantly struggles with his own status anxiety; who is drawn to women, yet has a habit of letting them down. With tough-minded intelligence and wry good humor The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. is an absorbing tale of one young man’s search for happiness - and an inside look at how he really thinks about women, sex and love.

©2013 Adelle Waldman (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Nate is so convincingly drawn you’ll want to hug him, lecture him and shake some sense into him simultaneously. Waldman has deftly written a laugh-out-loud treatise on why he didn’t call." (Allison Amend, author of A Nearly Perfect Copy)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (111 )
5 star
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3 star
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3.2 (93 )
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1 star
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Story
3.4 (96 )
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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  •  
    Christina GRANGER, IN, United States 09-20-13
    Christina GRANGER, IN, United States 09-20-13 Member Since 2011

    Librarian, writer, book nerd.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    59
    9
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    "The Memoirs of a Self-Indulgent Intellectual Jerk"

    I was very excited to start this book as I had read a number of positive reviews, both on this site (and Amazon and Goodreads) and in magazines. In fact, even after reading it I'm inclined to think that I missed something important because I can't understand how anyone could find this book enjoyable.

    Our narrator, Nate, is one of the most selfish, snobbish, unlikable narrators I've ever come across. I don't always have to like the narrator of a story (Dorian Gray anyone?) but listening to Nate complain about his life and his lack of respect for pretty much every woman in his life for eight and a half hours--or 250 pages--was like sitting next to someone on the train that just won't shut up. He was like a self-indulgent child that couldn't understand why everything in his life wasn't perfect and gets bored with everything that is. This was probably the point of the book, I realize. But for me to enjoy a book about someone like this, there has to be some redeeming quality in the narrator or some interesting secondary character. There was not.

    The plot of the book largely follows Nate's relationship with a new girl, Hannah. To give some background, he has a pretty dysfunctional romantic history. Though it's never explicitly stated, he doesn't seem to consider women his intellectual equals. For maybe the first month of their relationship, the story is very sweet. I found myself hoping that the point of the story was that people can change, that basic human kindness can be found in even the most unlikely of hosts. But then everything starts to deteriorate. I hated Nate for the way he treated Hannah--and women in general. I hated Hannah for being a smart woman and putting up with such a prick. The secondary characters are all caricatures--the Harvard playboy who only dates beautiful women, the bitter intellectual woman who is obsessed with marriage, the slutty damaged girl that every man is fascinated with, even the immigrant parents who came to America to give their son a better life. And I didn't care one way or another what happened to any of them.

    I was miserable almost the entire time I read this book. It seemed to be a dreary, hopeless look at the death of romance and human decency in favor of pseudo-intellectual snobbery. (The narrator repeatedly mentions wanting to date a girl who has read Svevo and other hipster-obscure authors.) If you're in the mood to read something that makes you hate relationships or want to feel very smart, this is probably the book for you. Otherwise, skip it.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Toby Portsmouth, NH, United States 07-18-13
    Toby Portsmouth, NH, United States 07-18-13 Member Since 2010

    Anglophile. Prefer only British fiction and mysteries. Good translations of Italian, too.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    81
    ratings
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    "Sad that the awful reader ruined the narrative"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    No, I would hope my friends could read it in print. The narrator was awful - whiny, nasal and boring as hell.


    What other book might you compare The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. to and why?

    Perhaps the Ivy Chronicles.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Nick Podehl?

    A woman. A good British male reader. This guy is just awful.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed when I was not annoyed by the horrible reader.


    Any additional comments?

    It makes me sad that an excellent debut novel could be ruined by such a bad and clueless reader. That guy is so bad I will never listen to any book he narrates. I would leave the train carriage if he sat next to me and I had to hear him speak. Why do so many American readers think they are actors and over-act? Truly trying and more than a bit annoying. This is why I mostly listen only to British novels, but keep trying to find good american ones. Hard, given the readers.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Naomi CHICAGO, IL, United States 06-13-14
    Naomi CHICAGO, IL, United States 06-13-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    18
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    "Okay story, abysmal performance"
    Any additional comments?

    I had quite a bit of trouble with the character of Nate. He believes in his own superior intelligence, but he's shallow, he's superficial, and he's unaware of his own feelings. He doesn't know what he wants in a woman. One of the passages that really annoyed me was when he fixated on the loose flesh under his girlfriend's arms. The same girlfriend who he earlier described as "almost too thin" is suddenly not working hard enough at Pilates and he is repulsed by her to a degree that's beyond comprehension. I'm sure my mouth hung open in disbelief while I listened to this portion of the book.

    I was frustrated by Nate because I kept wondering, "do men really think this way?" Certainly his actions were familiar to those I'd encountered in my dating life. While dating one woman he became more and more critical and she tried harder and harder to please him, which resulted in him feeling contempt for her. This book may be written by a woman, but I have to believe that she has some insight into the mind of shallow, rude men. I only kept listening to see if Nate got his comeuppance.

    The performance of Nick Podehl didn't help matters. Several times the inflection he used for a character's voice didn't match the description of the tone that the character was supposed to have used. (Which made me wonder about the direction and the editing as well) Worst of all, he doesn't know how to voice female characters. All his female characters sounded like stereotypically bitchy, lisping gay men instead of women, and the voice for a particular character wasn't consistent throughout the read. I can't recommend the audio version of this book for that reason alone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian A. Lockett 04-28-14 Member Since 2002
    ratings
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    6
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Avoid this book"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Self-absorbed 20-somethings in New York.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Adelle Waldman again?

    Good reader but did not remotely enjoy this book.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Narrator was good.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Extreme annoyance with self-absorbed, angst-ridden, spoiled 20-year olds in New York. No redeeming value either to the people or their preoccupation with themselves.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenny Bayville, NY, United States 02-13-14
    Jenny Bayville, NY, United States 02-13-14 Listener Since 2005
    ratings
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    7
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    "not my favorite"
    What did you like best about The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.? What did you like least?

    The reader detracted from the story, although I have to say I didn't much care for the novel either. The reader mis pronounced the names of familiar NYC and Brooklyn landmarks and had an unrecognizable accent for the Israeli character. The story was trying to be a contemporary book of manners, after Jane Austen etc, but in effect was tedious and annoying.


    Would you recommend The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. to your friends? Why or why not?

    not really, see above. Plus, I think the book was what a woman thinks a man thinks like. Not what a man really thinks like.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Nick Podehl’s performances?

    not really.


    Did The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. inspire you to do anything?

    write this review


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jasmine New Castle, DE, United States 01-16-14
    Jasmine New Castle, DE, United States 01-16-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    "No Love for Nathaniel P."

    Upon reading the summary for Love Affairs, I knew that this was something that I wanted to read. As a single female, who doesn't want to understand the mind of a man more? I thought that this would be that book - a fictional tale delving into the psyche of a man and I would finish the book with a huge revelation about relationships...but I didn't.

    It was an awkward story - I think that was in part to a woman being the author. There were times when Nate sounded more female than male and it made it hard to believe. It probably would have been much better if a man wrote from a man's perspective. There is no way possible a woman can write from a man's perspective. I know it is fiction - but I was hoping for more. It took me three times to even start and get into the story. It was just a disappointing read altogether.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 09-24-13
    Stephanie ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 09-24-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    87
    12
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    4
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    Story
    "Nate's Dates"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Any time spent reading/listening to something thought-provoking is time well spent. I did find I preferred to read my hard copy than listen, though. (See comment on Nick's performance.)


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

    I don't think "enjoyable" was what Waldman was going for. She wrote a book that was meant to be uncomfortable, and it succeeded.


    What aspect of Nick Podehl’s performance would you have changed?

    The way he does women's voices: most of them sounded like Miss Piggy. I am not kidding. Luckily most of the narrative is in Nate's head, and Podehl is fine when he's doing the male voice.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Oh, I don't think so. Hollywood would do terrible, terrible things to this movie. Even if it were an indie flick, it wouldn't work: too much time in people's heads. There's not enough action to put this into film form.


    Any additional comments?

    The book is described as witty, which it is; it's also described as funny, which it isn't. (Except on occasion.) Waldman is an excellent writer and takes the subject of dating seriously, as she says through one of her characters: "I just hate the way so many men treat 'dating' as if it's a frivolous subject ... Dating is probably the most fraught human interaction there is. You're sizing people up to see if they're worth your time and attention, and they're doing the same to you." Waldman apparently does a bang-up job (according to male reviewers) of getting inside the skull of a man, which is no easy task. The positive reviews she's received from men is surprising, considering she is basically skewering them. Nate seems likable enough until the end; his choices at that point push him firmly into pathetic asshole territory. In many ways, though this book is ostensibly about love affairs, and the plot centers on one, it's the polar opposite of the romance novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ANNA LONG BEACH, NY, United States 08-22-13
    ANNA LONG BEACH, NY, United States 08-22-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
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    6
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    "great book about contemporary relationships"
    If you could sum up The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. in three words, what would they be?

    Smart, perceptive and interesting


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.?

    The almost break up scene and the break up scene were well done. There was also a lot of insight into how men think about women and relationships versus how women think about men and relationships, and how these differences cause problems and issues between men and women. Men have it easier I think - this book was consistent with that view, although they suffer as well.


    Which character – as performed by Nick Podehl – was your favorite?

    I really liked Hannah until she got overly involved in, and hopeful about the relationship, and ultimately kind of desperate - which I could also relate to. Auritt was great of course. I would be friends with Auritt in real life and she would judge me. I thought the performer did her really well


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The end, for a moment, and then it didn't anymore


    Any additional comments?

    I recommend this book. It really held my interest - I will watch for this author's next book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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