The Romantics by Galt Niederhoffer

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"The Romantics is a smart, edgy novel that is wickedly insightful about class and privilege, amusingly cynical about love and friendship, and thoroughly entertaining throughout. Galt Niederhoffer is an elegant prose stylist and a shrewd social observer."—Tom Perrotta

Laura and Lila were once as close as could be--college roommates at the center of a tight-knit group of friends. But the friendship has wilted a bit. Now, ten years after college, the friends--and the boyfriend they shared--have reunited for Lila’s wedding at her family’s seaside estate in Maine.  

Laura is reserved, single, and the only Jew in the group, while the bride, Lila, is a WASP-y moneyed golden girl, and the groom, Tom, a swim team star from a working class Catholic background, is a perfect paradox of confidence and confusion.  As the wedding draws near and wine flows faster, the disappointments and desires of the reuniting friends come quickly to the surface. A drunken game on the estate’s dock goes awry when the revelers are pulled out to sea by the current.  When they swim back to shore, they are short by one—the groom. The search throws the group’s shifting allegiances into relief and results in new betrayals as well as confessions.

With Lila’s family’s picture-perfect Maine summer house as the backdrop, Laura not only sees her old friends in a new light, but reassesses herself as well—is she the only one of the group destined to be unmarried into her thirties?  Was it always this obvious that she was the only Jew in a pride of WASPs? Struggling with the traditionally thankless role of maid of honor—not to mention contending with Lila’s formidable mother Augusta—Laura also realizes she can't stop thinking about her complicated, long and intense relationship with the groom.  But isn't that relationship far in the past?

A wry observer of cultural and social mores, Niederhoffer creates a pitch-perfect group of characters and a winning novel about friendship, class and love.


About Galt Niederhoffer

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GALT NIEDERHOFFER is the author of A Taxonomy Of Barnacles and The Romantics, which became a movie written, directed and produced by Niederhoffer, and starring Katie Holmes, Josh Duhamel, Anna Paquin, and Malin Ackerman in 2011.  Her production company, Park Pictures, has produced more than two dozen movies.  She lives in New York City.
Published July 8, 2008 by St. Martin's Press. 300 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Romantics

Kirkus Reviews

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Laura, who never really explains why she has remained friends with this gossipy crew, also fights off the advances of Lila’s younger brother Chip and makes a discovery about Tom that changes everything.

Jul 01 2008 | Read Full Review of The Romantics

The New York Times

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“On the basis of looks alone, he could have bedded an entire field hockey team.” That Laura lost Tom to the flawlessly pretty Lila Hayes, who now “welcomed her friends as guests to her club, so long as they remembered who was the member,” leaves Laura “forcing a merry smile that only an idiot cou...

Jun 30 2008 | Read Full Review of The Romantics

Publishers Weekly

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In film producer Niederhoffer’s wan second novel (following A Taxonomy of Barnacles ), a love triangle takes center stage among an amorous group of nine Yale friends known to each other as “The Romantics.” As the group reunites for the marriage of Lila Hayes and Tom McDevon at a Maine estate six ...

Apr 14 2008 | Read Full Review of The Romantics


So while viewers who enjoyed the film will no doubt get a kick out of this kicky little featurette due in no small part from not having retained the character negatives, on the whole the Behind-The-Scenes look carries the same banality as the finished film.

Feb 11 2011 | Read Full Review of The Romantics

Christian Science Monitor

Spoiled, rich Harvard classmates unite for a swank New England wedding in "The Romantics," a movie that gives the word "plebian" a good name.

Sep 10 2010 | Read Full Review of The Romantics

Suite 101

It Could Happen To You, released in 1994, is a singular film of the time for its portrayal of avarice and false motives during the Clinton era.

Sep 25 2010 | Read Full Review of The Romantics

Huffington Post

One catch: Lila is marrying Tom (Josh Duhamel), the guy that Laura was deeply involved with in college, before Lila swept him away with both her charms and the promises of her parents' fortune.

Sep 10 2010 | Read Full Review of The Romantics


It desperately wants to be this generations The Big Chill, or even St. Elmo’s Fire, but it’s too fucking boring.

Sep 17 2010 | Read Full Review of The Romantics

San Francisco Chronicle

Paquin has a wonderful scene, and Niederhoffer's often humorous script suggests that all brides-to-be with younger sisters should lock up their wedding dress (or the sister) before the big day.

Sep 24 2010 | Read Full Review of The Romantics

Common Sense Media

Maid of honor Laura (Katie Holmes), who was Lila's college roommate (and, more importantly, Tom's college girlfriend and sometime lover), really doesn't want to be there -- a fact made perfectly clear when she accidentally says "Tom and Laura" during her rehearsal-dinner toast.

Sep 07 2010 | Read Full Review of The Romantics

Holmes is asked to do most of the emoting, and, while Paquin is sharper and her dialogue better, Holmes’s hurt makes you long to see what she can do in a more confidently made movie.

Sep 24 2010 | Read Full Review of The Romantics

Unfortunately writer/director Galt Niederhoffer — who also wrote the novel it’s based on — is seriously drunk on her own Ivy League exceptionalism, wrongly convinced of just how singularly special these kids are.

Sep 10 2010 | Read Full Review of The Romantics

NY Daily News

Mom jumps eight stories to her death with her infant son strapped to her chest ...

Sep 10 2010 | Read Full Review of The Romantics

Time Out New York

In attendance, too, is Laura (Holmes, stepping up her game), not so long ago Tom's lover and now in an awkward, competitive detente with her best friend, the bride.

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Slant Magazine

With next-to-no suspense generated from the question of whether Tom will ditch Lila (who twice admits a disgust for "emotions") for Laura (with whom he's clearly still in love), the burden of carrying the proceedings falls on the cast, who feign genuine sentiments but prove incapable of overcomin...

Sep 06 2010 | Read Full Review of The Romantics

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