The Old Romantic by Louise Dean

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Synopsis

"A highly entertaining, vivid evocation of love and marriage." –The New York Times Book Review

It’s been decades since Nick cast off his impossible, contentious, embarrassingly working-class parents: gruff, stingy, explosive Ken, and Pearl, who seemed to revert to a primal state of nature after a divorce that both of them managed to blame on Nick. Enjoying the life of the country gentleman that he’s made for himself with impeccably turned-out Astrid and her daughter, Laura, Nick has kept only the slenderest connection to his brother, Dave, who’s stuck with the role of ambassador in a family that’s long settled into cold war.
Then Ken decides that the year of his death has arrived, and kicks off an ill-conceived quest to reunite his family before he meets his fate. Bringing to this tinderbox the park it needs, Louise Dean, award-winning author of Becoming Strangers and several more acclaimed novels, sends up the whole clan, each of them fatally flawed, yet saved by hidden grace, and illuminates their clashes of generation, gender, class, and temperament, in a riotous, compassionate, and truly memorable family saga.


 

About Louise Dean

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LOUISE DEAN is the author of three previous novels, including Becoming Strangers, which was awarded the Betty Trask Prize in 2004 and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award. She lives in Kent, England, with her three children.
 
Published February 17, 2011 by Riverhead. 354 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Old Romantic

Kirkus Reviews

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By turns nasty and maudlin, Ken still infuriates Nick, but Nick is also feeling delayed guilt about his past behavior.

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The New York Times

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Novels by Louise Dean, Hervé Le Tellier, David Levithan and Rana Dasgupta; a book of true New York love stories; and an anthology of writers’ reflections on Paris.

Feb 16 2011 | Read Full Review of The Old Romantic

The New York Times

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In Dean’s bracingly acerbic novel, the Goodyews’ happy ending, if it is to be achieved at all, will require not just a reconciliation between Ken and Nick (who for his part calls his dad “you old bastard,” and worse, in their screamed telephone exchanges) but, more improbably, a bringing together...

Feb 18 2011 | Read Full Review of The Old Romantic

The Guardian

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Louise Dean was brought up in the quaint Kentish town of Cranbrook, though her fiction rarely ventures close to home.

Aug 21 2010 | Read Full Review of The Old Romantic

The Guardian

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Both sons and father are estranged from Pearl, the boys' mother, Ken's first wife, although privately they all remember with perverse fondness the blazing rows Ken and Pearl had throughout the boys' childhood.

Aug 22 2010 | Read Full Review of The Old Romantic

Star Tribune

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Dean has a brilliant eye for domestic situations, but this novel is cluttered with irrelevant side stories.

Feb 19 2011 | Read Full Review of The Old Romantic

AV Club

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As some of Ken’s adventures lean toward caricature, including an ill-fated road trip to Wales, his son’s weighing of the measure of his responsibility grounds The Old Romantic in reality: Sensing the collapse of the time since his last conversation with Ken, Nick is yet still acting in the family...

Feb 24 2011 | Read Full Review of The Old Romantic

Entertainment Weekly

In her latest, a British family drama set along splintered class lines at a decaying seaside resort, Dean explores the relationships between Nick, a Cambridge-educated divorce attorney;

Feb 23 2011 | Read Full Review of The Old Romantic

The Telegraph

While old Ken salivates with anger (“Shifty here, surprised he could tear himself away from his caff society”), Nick is a picture of English refinement.

Sep 17 2010 | Read Full Review of The Old Romantic

The Bookbag

Dean picks out those small pointers which tell us all about Ken, such as his refusal to take his coat off in a posh restaurant – followed by a complaint that it's too hot.

Jul 14 2010 | Read Full Review of The Old Romantic

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

Seventy-eight-year-old Ken is now remarried to a brave, almost mindlessly cheerful woman with “romantic aspirations” named June, and when the novel begins, Nick’s brother, Dave has persuaded Nick to pick up Ken and June and join Dave’s family for Christmas dinner.

Mar 05 2011 | Read Full Review of The Old Romantic

Bookmarks Magazine

Scott Muskin Critical Summary Dean asks the big questions about love, commitment, and the changing boundaries among family members in this exploration of marriage and family.

Feb 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The Old Romantic

Oprah.com

You'll end up laughing (with glee!) as Nick, Nick's brother and his father Ken hit the road to chase down Ken's trod-upon ex-wife and his supposedly stolen 40,000 pounds, only to have your heart broken when Nick admits finally, "He wanted to be in the car with his family," remembering a childhood...

Feb 27 2012 | Read Full Review of The Old Romantic

Metro

The reconciliation between reinvented, social climbing Nick and his dyed-in-the-wool proletariat father is the subject of Louise Dean’s fourth novel, resulting in a social comedy dealing with divisions between classes and generations which, for all its well-drawn sensitivity, feels slightly snoot...

Aug 11 2010 | Read Full Review of The Old Romantic

Reader Rating for The Old Romantic
82%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 24 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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