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The Way Men Act: A Novel


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About the Author

Elinor Lipman started writing fiction by night while working at a teachers' magazine by day. Her first book, Into Love and Out Again, was published in 1987; its centerpiece was seven connected stories, novella-length, which gave her the courage to try a novel. Then She Found Me came out in 1990 (eighteen years later it was adapted into a feature film), followed by The Way Men Act, Isabel's Bed, The Inn at Lake Devine, The Ladies' Man, The Dearly Departed, The Pursuit of Alice Thrift, My Latest Grievance, and most recently, The Family Man. Her honors include the New England Book Award and the Poetry Center's Fiction Prize. She divides her time between leafy western Massachusetts and New York City. Visit to find out more.


In a second novel as enchanting as her first, Lipman ( Then She Found Me ) traces the untriumphant return of 30-year-old Melinda LeBlanc to her recently gentrified hometown of Harrow, Mass., after a decade of unfocused living in California. Moved in to the third floor of her mother's house, working as a designer at the Forget-Me-Not florist shop owned by her cousin, Melinda wonders why her former high school classmates are married while she--``ever-popular . . . a good dancer and a fun date''--is not. With bracing, always affectionate humor, Lipman records the complications developing between Melinda and Libby Getchel, another newly returned, unmarried Harrow native who opens a dressmaking shop on Main Street, and wary, divorced Dennis Vaughan, trout fishing expert and black Harrow High graduate whose Brookhoppers store is a haven for New England anglers. Gamely pursuing all chances for romance, outspoken Melinda offers counsel on sex and love to others (including her mother, who is muffled in an unsatisfactory second marriage to a traveling salesman) until a series of unexpected betrayals among friends and family leads her to take charge of her life and heart. Deft, warm characterization distinguishes this romance with a modern sensibility and nice old-fashioned resolution. BOMC selection. (Mar.)

Continuing her deft exploration of contemporary social mores, Lipman ( Then She Found Me , LJ 3/15/90) focuses on the unmarried thirtysomething crowd. Melinda LeBlanc has returned to her New England hometown after failing to get an education or a husband in California. Observing and participating in the coupling and uncoupling of friends, relatives, and others, Melinda tries to understand the nature of attraction between men and women in order to achieve her own happy ending. Putting a wicked 1990s spin on the game of courtship, Lipman comes up with a winner--a wry, witty, fond look at decent people attempting to make connections with each other. This will gain new fans for the author as well as pleasing the old. Recommended for most fiction collections. BOMC selection.--Andrea Caron Kempf, Johnson Cty. Com munity Coll. Lib., Overland Park, Kan.

"With The Way Men Act, Elinor Lipman emerges as a full-fledge talent, a witty, compassionate chronicler of modern sensibility, wise without beating the reader over the head with her insights....Written in spare, sparkling prose, with not a flat or dragging millisecond." -- Michael Dorris in the Boston Globe
"Elinor Lipman's language is so superb that to paraphrase would be murder. Part of the joy of this wise and charming novel is in the writing. The rest is in the thinking--smart, offbeat, funny. What a pleasure." -- Cosmopolitan
"In a league with Jane Austen... Elinor Lipman's eye for social geography instantly infatuates, just as the screwball plot charms with its basic tenet of successful courtship: location, location, location." --Glamour

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