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A Gentleman's Guide to Graceful Living: A Novel Paperback – June 29, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Dahlie’s dry and understated portrayal of old upper-crust Manhattan is as crisp and authentic as a well-made gin and tonic.” (Publishers Weekly)
“You will root for this winsome, unique narrator to the very end.” (Boston Sunday Globe)
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Top Customer Reviews
However, Arthur's life is in crisis. His wife wants to divorce him for reasons he does not quite understand. He's ruined the family business and a vicious relative treats him with contempt in front of his son. His inherited membership in the very exclusive fly-fishing club called Maidenhead Grange is terminated because he broke an important rule of the club and ended up causing a fire. There are more than a couple of situations that turn out to be completely hilarious! Truth is, Arthur does not understand how any of these things happened. He always meant well and tried to do the correct thing and play by the rules. He searches his mind and memory to try to discern how all of the events came about, but again, he's not always sure how he could have done anything differently, but he wants to change.
In spite of the fact that Arthur does blunder along through life, it's true that he's a nice guy and means well. The real indication of a good story is when the reader personally cares what happens to the characters. With each page, I was cheering for Arthur and hoping against hope that he would not do what I could sense might be coming along in the next paragraph. The author takes the reader into the unforgettable life of a man who does his best to always be a gentleman. I believe that I have met an Arthur or two before in my life, but thanks to Michael Dahlie, now I may understand them a little better!
A very pleasurable read!
This was a very quirky book, and probably wouldn't be to everyone's taste, but I loved it. There was something almost voyeuristic about being 'inside' the head of a very wealthy man who was living a life that most of us can only dream about, and realize that he's all-too-human and that money most certainly does not buy happiness. Even though Arthur (the main character) spends most of his time either moping or worrying, this is not a serious book - there's always an undercurrent of humor although that may just be because the handling of the story is so quirky and different. I'd highly recommend this to anyone who likes quirkiness or who would like to get inside the minds of the 'other half'. I almost never give out 5 stars, but this was a gem!
The author's narrative is riveting in its simplicity and his feel for Arthur never wavers. It doesn't take long for the reader to know that we're all in this life with Arthur, cheering him on, picking him up, urging him forward and hoping for the best. Through it all, Arthur maintains a special individual integrity accompanied by gin and tonics, scotches, wine, lobster, the Catskills, France and Manhattan and more than one woman. While it might be nice to have money or have had it, Arthur is always on the edge, and so is the reader.
One wonders how Arthur would have fared if he had been truly alone...no family, fewer friends, widowed or perhaps even gay. That's a sequel for the author to consider. But in "A Gentleman's Guide to Graceful Living", Michael Dahlie has set a high standard of entertainment and desire with just enough of a trampoline cushion to keep Arthur afloat and all of us happy...and wanting more.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
somewhere between genteel and bumbling.....proves is not the root of evil, but doesn't cure all ills. a really nice summer read.Published 17 months ago by Ben E. Black
In which the hapless Arthur Camden experiences all sorts of mostly self-imposed problems in navigating what would otherwise be a graceful life made possible by his financial... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Massimo Pigliucci
If you aspire to be a fly angler, or cosmopolitan bon vivant raconteur, you must read this book! Just when you think your life can't get worse, you can read how someone else's... Read morePublished on June 5, 2013 by Big Daddy
I totally enjoyed reading this well written book. At times I wanted to kick Arthur Camden and tell him to get a backbone and at other times I empathized with him. Read morePublished on August 21, 2011 by PattiesZone
This novel reminded me of an old Monty Python sketch called "Ralph Melish (Nothing Happened)." Do a search with your favorite search engine and you will get the point. Read morePublished on July 12, 2011 by Girya48
It hurts to read this book. This book is not funny. It is not thrilling, nor a love story, nor a tragedy with any redeeming values. Read morePublished on June 22, 2011 by Von Gardiner
Arthur Camden is a well-to-do, middle-aged New Yorker in a bit of a bind. His wife left him (after having affairs through most of their marriage) because he wasn't aggressive... Read morePublished on February 27, 2010 by Larry Hoffer
Reading these great reviews, I thought I was in for a really read... NOT.
I didn't feel much sympathy for Arthur, mostly because he was TOO pathetic. Read more
Arthur Camden leads a life of ... no, wait ... Arthur Camden leads no discernable life whatsoever. He is the sort of person who has, through no apparent talent of his own,... Read morePublished on March 26, 2009 by Charles R. Johnson