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Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly. Pages and dust cover are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine is undamaged.
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A Much Younger Man Paperback – July 1, 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

If 1997 was the year of the memoir, then 1998 is starting out to be the year of the older woman^-younger man novel. First came Antonya Nelson's Nobody's Girl, and now we have a novel from Australia exploring the same theme. When 35-year-old Aly, a divorced English teacher, meets Tom, the 15-year-old son of her best friend, each feels strongly attracted to the other. As Aly gives in, almost against her better judgment, and begins an affair with Tom, she discovers that most of her colleagues and friends (especially Tom's parents) are aghast at her decision. As for Tom, his love for Aly has cost him his family, his education, and nearly his life. Can this relationship survive? Even though it is difficult to understand just what Aly sees in Tom, in her first novel Highbridge has written a spare and tender account of the ramifications of falling in love with a person whom society deems wrong. Nancy Pearl --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

The emergence of an abiding love between a schoolteacher in her 30s and the 16-year-old son of a longtime friend is the main event in this softly rendered, erotically charged debut from Tokyo-based Australian Highbridge. Hardly enamored of her work, Aly still dutifully grades her students' papers, not even daring to think that someone might come along and change her life forever. When Tom walks down the aisle of the commuter train to sit next to her, she has trouble remembering who he is, and seeing him as the catalyst of change isn't even a possibilityafter all, he's only 15. They continue to meet on the train, however, and by the time Tom has a birthday Aly views this tall, elegantly sculpted, sensitive, lute-playing youth as more than her professor friend Louise's only son. When he makes a pass at her, she offers only token resistance, and before they know it they're passionately involved. Given the age difference and her line of work, Aly is acutely aware of the repercussions should their affair be uncoveredbut when the cat is finally out of the bag, the lovers are too smitten to care. He moves in with her and leaves school to get his diploma on his own, flipping burgers for money; she decides to quit teaching. Then Tom has a serious accident on his scooter, and in his weeks of convalescence his parents manage to make Aly feel guilty enough that she stops seeing him. Two dismal years pass, until the death of Tom's grandmother, the only one to view their love as the real McCoy, provides an occasion for them to find out whether what they once had is still there. As the lovers here see nought but each other, the story sees little but them and their obsessionand in that context the heights and depths of passion and each frisson of delight are finely done. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Press (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569471479
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569471470
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #576,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have never read such an intelligent and moving love story, and Istayed up until 3:00am to finish it. I cared about Aly from the start, andI felt Tom was something really special. He had to be, or Aly wouldn't have been attracted to him. In her (mistaken) teaching career, as she says, she's known maybe thousands of kids. There are boys his age in real life who are mature in different ways (for example, performing artists) and given his privileged background, with smart but difficult parents, there's no reason why he shouldn't be emotionally mature, and in some ways quite sophisticated. But he's not too mature or too good. He is capable of the dishonesty that kids practice on their parents, he exploits the feelings of his first younger girlfriend, he's arrogant in a very young guy's way about other people's creative work, and so on. To me, he is totally believable. I loved him, and I loved the the way this book is written. It moves along, it can be read as a romance, but it also is deceptively simple. Highbridge's descriptions of the city and nature are stunning, there's life in even the minor characters, and humour that catches you off guard. This book is not only incredibly sexy, it is thought-provoking, and to me it rings true.
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Format: Hardcover
The subject matter in this book is treated with respect and taste. We get to know Alyson, the 35 year old teacher, intimately. We cry for her. We want it to work with Tom, the much younger man, the son of her college friend. Tom sincerely loves Aly, but it will take a lot of courage to deal with society, Tom's parents, and the pressures on Aly as a schoolteacher. The eroticism is very tastefully done, but also highly sensual. Most of the characters are completely believable, with a few stereotypes thrown in to the mix. I know that I was caught up in the lives of the main characters when I began to helplessly sob in the next-to-the-last chapter of the book. This is not casual, light romance. This is serious stuff. It's heartbreaking, moving, and loving. You feel as if you have gone through the three years from the moment Aly and Tom first catch sight of each other on a commuter train. Aly goes from feeling Tom has an "incipient crush" to understand she is in love. Tom, being younger, feels it much sooner. But, in spite of being younger, his love lasts.
This book is written in a very unique style, jumping from first to third person with nary a breath. However, it works. Nearly everything about this book works, and I have re-read it several times. You can feel the emotions as you read about them. Fine story-writing like this is rare, and I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Starting with the provocative idea, "What if May were 16 and a male, and December were a thirty something female?" Dianne Highbridge's novel starkly shows the painfully different reactions the lovers, the lovers' friends and families, even the lovers at different times--have to this premise. What is amazing about this novel is how surely we feel at the end that these two people--no matter the differences in age,class or life experience--belong together. Highbridge lets us know just enough about Aly's damaging first marriage, and Tom's instinctive, sensitive appraisal of it, to let us see Tom as someone who will heal as well as love her. Tom's youth is not shied away from but we also get a full, many-coloured picture of traits that will only braid more strongly through time with Aly's . The writing itself is what impresses me most about this book: spare, haiku-like suggestions that hold the weight of so much more; gleams of thoughts about Tom interrupting more and more frequently to show not tell us Aly's growing awareness of him. This is how a woman is really seduced and Highbridge has the delicacy and flair to let the love between them seep into our reading. As it would in real life. The story compels, the prose is poetry--a wonderful read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like the subject and the story line however it is very minimalistic and dry (which is fine for a romance novel because a too exaggerated or overly descriptive scenes can be compared to reading a porn script). Besides that, especially in the begining it is hard to understand who says what due to that minimalistic language. However by the end of the book it gets better so that is why I gave this book four stars.

Some people said that the charachter of the young man seems unrealistic and too mature for his age but I disagree. Sometimes adults underestimate young people and some teens can be very mature by the time they reach their twenties. Something in the same genra as "How Stella Got Her Groove Back".
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By A Customer on February 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
'a much younger man' was breathtaking!
i wasn't sure what to expect when i began reading this novel. sitting out on the porch, i had intended to read about a chapter at most but in the end i was turning page after page for almost one and a half hours!
ms. highbridge's prose is pithy, yet haunting, ethereal. slowly and deliberately, the novel explores the complex layers of Aly and Tom's relationship - and slowly and deliberately, the reader falls in love with them and empathises with the difficulty of their predicament. Without resorting to sentimentality, Highbridge juxtaposes the simple beauty of Aly and Tom's feelings for each other against the anger and the censure of others. Highbridge doesn't try to romanticise the situation, and deals with a lot of the real problems they face in a stark and succint way. this book has some dark and sad moments, but the prose is never less than breathtaking and lyrical in its simplicity.
tom is indeed, as aly describes him, 'beautiful'. perhaps he is more mature than any teenager that ever lived, but you can forgive the author this indiscretion, because Tom is so endearing, so constant in his love for aly that you just can't help loving him too, and fully understanding why aly goes through all that mess to be with him.
i could not put this book down the first time i read it and have to confess that i reread it only days after finishing it the first time - it had that much of an impact on me! i have no doubt in my mind that i will read it many more times, and highly recommend it to any reader who is looking for a love story with an unconventional setting. a truly beautiful book!
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