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Wise Men: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Stuart Nadler
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $8.89
You Save: $6.11 (41%)
Sold by: Hachette Book Group

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Book Description

Almost overnight, Arthur Wise has become one of the wealthiest and most powerful attorneys in America. His first big purchase is a simple beach house in a place called Bluepoint, a town on the far edge of the flexed arm of Cape Cod.

It's in Bluepoint, during the summer of 1952, that Arthur's teenage son, Hilly, makes friends with Lem Dawson, a black man whose job it is to take care of the house but whose responsibilities quickly grow. When Hilly finds himself falling for Lem's niece, Savannah, his affection for her collides with his father's dark secrets. The results shatter his family, and hers.

Years later, haunted by his memories of that summer, Hilly sets out to find Savannah, in an attempt to right the wrongs he helped set in motion. But can his guilt, and his good intentions, overcome the forces of history, family, and identity?

A beautifully told multigenerational story about love and regret, Wise Men confirms that Stuart Nadler is one of the most exciting young writers at work today


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2013: Wise Men begins with an irresistible description of the narrator's father--an arrogant, preening, but still somehow lovable ambulance-chasing lawyer who becomes superrich and famous by prosecuting the airlines--and goes on to create a perfect picture of mid-20th-century America: a country naïve, ambitious, and possessed of a racism and anti-Semitism both genteel and pervasive. With stunning understanding--especially for a young author born well after the time his book describes--Nadler has written a story about fathers and sons, about love and longing and loss; a book that is funny and sad and local and global. Think Harper Lee crossed with Philip Roth: This is a truly Great American Novel. --Sara Nelson

Review

"A tense, evocative, page-turning saga of the bruising encounters between two families across the 'colour line' over half a century. Every conversation rings painfully, beautifully true."--Emma Donoghue, author of Room

Product Details

  • File Size: 1483 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0316126489
  • Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books (February 5, 2013)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007ZFYAKO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,186 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly annoying February 21, 2013
Format:Hardcover
Stuart Nadler's debut novel came highly praised, which is why I was one of the first to order it from my local library. The premise was interesting, and that held up: a multi-generational saga w/ an interracial component. What detracted from the novel were two things: Nadler's use of current venacular when the setting was either the 50's or the 70's (minor annoyance) and having to have every character super-human (the best major league pitcher no one has ever seen; the biggest & richest trial lawyer; a Vietnam veteran spouting solipsism; an abused Iowan who graduates Yale and herself becomes a millionaire; and an ex-Olympian turned symphony volionist). As if average people weren't good enough to tell what was - really - a touching, human story. A good editor should have caught this.
Another previous review noted that the Cape Cod details were "off". I don't know the Cape well enough to comment, but thought Nadler was a little show-offy detailing DC and NYC like he was proving he'd lived in both places. Did a nice job w/ small town Iowa, however.
These minor annoyances became eye-rolling by Part 3. As did the label-dropping (we get it, they became filthy rich and liked to spend their money). A great outline; wish it had been in better hands.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "All love in fact is great affliction." February 8, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Hilly Wise's father has become wealthy for his role as a lawyer representing the passengers in a catastrophic crash. His father has moved the family to small estate in Cape Cod. Hilly's dad's partner Robert lives a mile down the beach. Over the the detached garage lives Len. At their first meeting, Lem is dressed for church. Hilly's parents refuse to shake his hand. And behind his back, they exchange comments about "the boy" being left with the property. Hilly eventually wears away Lem's reticence and meets his niece Savannah upon whom he develops a sudden crush.

The puzzling aspect to me of this novel was the instantaneous amount of racism and distance put forth by Hilly' s parents and Robert. They are avowed Conservatives, but this setting is the North at the start of the Civil Rights Movement. While racist sentiments no doubt exist, the tone at the time was more hypocritical, quieter, and "not our type dear" in form. Lem's bearing doesn't elicit the flashpoint presented.

Hilly's eventual betrayal is nearly unavoidable, and he spends the rest of the book working it through. He is a tremendously interesting boy, then man, of his times. The culminating moment at the end does bring some clarity to the story, but still leaves me feeling some pieces are missing, but the book as a whole is extremely ambitious and meets enough of its reach as to be well worth reading.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Writing Prose February 14, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent novel about being young, and following your heart. I loved this story and everything about it. The author does an excellent job in writing of the period (1950's 1960's and 70's) I feel like I am there, I feel for the characters in the story, no matter how small their role may be, or how big it may be. This is a story about love, togetherness, and forgiveness. This is a great choice by Amazon to make this one of the books of the month. I highly recommend this book if you have an interest in the South, 1950's-1970's, and a tale of immense proportion. Kudos to Stuart Nadler on this masterpiece of modern fiction.

Christopher Berry
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'd rate this 4.5 stars.

Stuart Nadler's terrific book explores the complex relationship between father and son, and how spending one's life trying to be something other than what is expected can be emotionally crippling. It's also a book about the powerful hold unrequited love has over you, and like Ian McEwan's Atonement, it's also a story of how a snap decision made in the heat of the moment can have life-changing implications.

Hilly Wise is a teenager growing up in New Haven when his father, Arthur, an ambulance-chasing attorney, lands a major case following a tragic plane crash. The case makes Arthur one of the wealthiest and most famous attorneys, reviled by airlines and other businesses, and sought after by individuals whose lives have been affected by tragedy. In the summer of 1952, Arthur moves his family to a beach house in the small town of Bluepoint on Cape Cod, where his law partner, Robert, also moves to an adjacent house on the property. Arthur and his wife easily settle into the life of the newly rich and powerful, but Hilly struggles.

In Bluepoint, Hilly meets Lem Dawson, the black man whose job it is to care for the Wises' house, and although Arthur discourages it, Hilly strikes up a tentative friendship with Lem, borne partly out of sympathy for the way his father treats Lem, partly out of curiosity and loneliness. Hilly finds himself falling in love with Lem's troubled niece, Savannah, although he is unsure exactly how to express his affection. And in one moment, a decision that Hilly makes has shattering consequences for all of them.

Years later, an adult Hilly, working as a reporter, tries to track Savannah down, in an effort to satisfy his longing and his curiosity at how her life turned out, as well as to assuage his guilt.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Was very pleased.
Book was exactly as described upon arrival. Was very pleased with the condition. Have not had a chance to read it yet, so I cannot comment on content.
Published 3 months ago by Topazlady
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Work of Art
This book about unrequited love was a true work of art. It was exciting, intriguing, romantic, and a bit disappointing. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Janet M. Henderson
4.0 out of 5 stars It was a good book
Very entertaining and a good read. I found the motive for the murder somewhat weak and a few of the characters poorly developed but all in all it was a good read. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Margaretta Vowell
4.0 out of 5 stars Wise Men
An unusual read for me to get into on most days but the author kept me interested and invested in the plot and the characters journey. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Krissy Malott
5.0 out of 5 stars Wise Men rating
the storyline was strong and interesting until the end, it was a weak ending, but I gave it 5 stars anyway.
Published 8 months ago by Eloise Pfeifauf
3.0 out of 5 stars Liked parts of the book very much
...but also felt as if something was missing when I finished the last page. I wish that I could say that I loved it, but that would be untrue. Read more
Published 9 months ago by DR
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT DEBUT NOVEL
Just finished Stuart Nadler's debut novel and I must admit, I loved it. So I was very surprised to read some of the very negative opinions by some of the on-line reviewers; goes... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Anthony McGill
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
The author brought the characters to life for me and gave such insight into each life. While this is a tragic story on so many levels, it opens one's mind to how humans fail each... Read more
Published 9 months ago by joe lackey
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprise ending!
For anyone that enjoys following a family through the years and experiencing their triumphs and tragedies! An ending I didn't see coming!
Published 10 months ago by Lizzie Rates It
1.0 out of 5 stars What was the point
Ther's something like five stories going on in this novel - race, unexplained death, making money, father & son relations, and aviation safety. Read more
Published 10 months ago by kkofva
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