Schmidt Steps Back by Louis Begley

53%

12 Critic Reviews

Artistically and thematically, this is the most ambitious novel in the Schmidt cycle, also the longest, and it requires familiarity with the earlier volumes to appreciate its richness.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

“Tragic and redemptive . . . Updike had Rabbit, Roth has Zuckerman, Richard Ford has Bascombe and Begley has Schmidt. . . .  [Schmidt Steps Back] is the most ambitious novel [yet] in the Schmidt cycle.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
Full of dark humor, compassion, and heart, Schmidt Steps Back is the most romantic installment yet of the drama that began with the acclaimed About Schmidt. Now seventy-eight, and just as passionate, sharp, and endearingly prickly as ever, Albert Schmidt faces a life alone, with only the crumbs of grandfatherly status and a less-than-demanding position at an international organization to sustain him. His only hope is Alice Verplanck, the French widow of a former partner, as elusive as she is beautiful. Whether his rusty seduction skills can lure her from Paris to the Hamptons won’t be known, though, until Schmidt endures one more ordeal by fire. Hilarious, engrossing, and deeply poignant, Schmidt Steps Back is Louis Begley’s finest novel yet.
 
Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Louis Begley's Memories of a Marriage.

Praise for Schmidt Steps Back
 
“Engaging . . . Begley gets as close to Schmidt as a diarist, inhabiting this man who has been seasoned by a long life.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Begley gets inside Schmidt’s fertile WASP brain . . . with subtlety, intelligence, and wit.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“The novel grows in Begley’s excellent intricacy . . . to the level of art rather than manners. . . . One cannot read one of the Schmidt novels without laughing.”—San Francisco Chronicle   
 
“Thoroughly absorbing . . . [a] cause for celebration.”—Salon
 
“[A] superb tragicomedy . . . seductive, subversive, and commanding.”—Booklist (starred review)
 

About Louis Begley

See more books from this Author
Louis Begley lives in New York City. His previous novels are About Schmidt, As Max Saw It, The Man Who Was Late, Matters of Honor, Mistler's Exit, Schmidt Delivered, Shipwreck, and Wartime Lies. www.louisbegley.com
 
Published March 13, 2012 by Ballantine Books. 386 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Schmidt Steps Back
All: 12 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 7

Kirkus

Below average
Mar 01 2012

Artistically and thematically, this is the most ambitious novel in the Schmidt cycle, also the longest, and it requires familiarity with the earlier volumes to appreciate its richness.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Ron Carlson on Apr 13 2012

Begley gets as close to Schmidt as a diarist, inhabiting this man who has been seasoned by a long life and yet somehow seems new this morning.

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WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by Alexander Theroux on Mar 24 2012

Schmidt is not a dull character, to be sure, but too often he feels like a contrived one.

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Washington Times

Below average
Reviewed by Claire Hopley on Apr 13 2012

t’s not a novel that will inspire the purest or deepest thoughts, but Mr. Begley’s narrative skill and command of the details of life among the wealthy will charm a quiet evening or a tedious journey.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Harriet Dwinell

These workman-like chunks detract from the artistry of the new material, which otherwise is on full display.

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San Francisco Chronicle

Below average
Reviewed by Earl Shorris on Mar 25 2012

The trouble with Schmidt as Begley invents him now is not that he is a wily bastard, taking advantage of life as best he can - not at all.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Below average
Reviewed by Frank Nepa on Apr 15 2012

I rather wish that Mr. Begley had treated Charlotte and those close to her less cruelly than he does in order to help Schmidt figure out what he needs to do with his life

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Excellent
Reviewed by Steven Kellman on Apr 04 2012

Set amid sumptuous restaurants and hotels of New York, Paris, London, and Warsaw and written with exquisite attention to the nuances of wine labels and human awareness, Schmidt Steps Back is a steady step forward for writer who has earned a place among his literary models.

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Newsday

Below average
Reviewed by Susan Reynolds on Mar 28 2012

But the Schmidt books are littered with references that exclude readers who aren't from the Upper East Side -- Brearley, Petrossian, the Frank Campbell Funeral Home.

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Macleans

Excellent
Reviewed by Sarah Murdoch on Mar 29 2012

Schmidt Steps Back is an evocation of an old age lived well.

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Boston.com

Excellent
Reviewed by William Pritchard on Mar 18 2012

His penultimate novel, “Matters Of Honor’’ (2007), about three Harvard roommates and their later careers, felt somewhat dutiful, lacking the Schmidt with whom Begley can feel most comfortably and aggressively at home.

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Philly.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Glenn Altschuler on Mar 25 2012

With subtlety, intelligence, and wit, Begley gets inside Schmidt's fertile WASP brain as he tries to understand his own behavior - and the behavior of others.

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Reader Rating for Schmidt Steps Back
71%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 20 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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