Elinor Lipman

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Ms. Demeanor, a novel

The Pursuit of Alice Thrift

  • 2003 (Hardcover), 2004 (Paperback)
  • Random House, Vintage
  • Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, iBook, Audio

Poor Alice Thrift, surgical intern in a Boston hospital, high of I.Q. but low in social graces.

Into her workaholic and wallflower life comes Ray Russo, fast-talking fudge salesman with upwardly mobile ambitions. Is he a con man or a sincere suitor? Good guy or bad? Her roommate, Leo Frawley, a charming male nurse who has a high threshold for Alice's left-footed people skills, along with fellow resident, Sylvia Schwartz, woman of the world, don't approve. Alice ignores them. As Alice herself announces on p. 6, "it's about the weak link in my own character—wishful thinking—and a husband of short duration with a history of bad deeds."

Soon to be a major motion picture.

Read more about The Pursuit of Alice Thrift in the Essays section.

Reviews and praise

"The most perfect piece of prose writing to come along in quite a while." Philadelphia Weekly

"Snappy wit, a clever plot and the sheer fun of a book you can?t put down await readers of Lipman's eighth novel, surely her best to date. Though miserably unequipped with self-esteem, Alice is an intelligent, well-brought-up offspring of upper-middle-class parents. Why, then, does she fall prey to the romantic blandishments of Ray Russo, a vulgar loudmouth and con artist...That Lipman can make this story plausible, and tell it with humor, psychological insight and rising suspense, is a triumph." Publisher's Weekly

"Like Jane Austen, the past master of the genre, Lipman isn't only out for laughs. She serves up social satire, too, that's all the more trenchant for being deftly drawn." Book Magazine

"Lipman is the diva of dialogue; her repartée flashes like Zorro's sword." People