Elinor Lipman

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The Way Men Act

  • 1992 (Hardcover), 1993 (Paperback)
  • Atria Books, Washington Square Press
  • Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

Melinda LeBlanc, at 30, makes an untriumphant return to Harrow, Massachusetts, her recently gentrified hometown.

She's unmarried, romanced out, designing wedding bouquets for old classmates who hadn't known a fraction of her early popularity. So why is she alone—not counting the occasional horizontal encounter—while these dull brides have found men and happiness? Libby Getchel, who designs strange dresses in the shop next door, and Dennis Vaughan, a native son who owns the hip Brookhoppers, a fly fisherman's paradise, provide friendship in mutating forms. The Way Man Act is about two of my favorite themes: 1) Going home and 2) Who's sorry now?

Reviews and praise

"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, for 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