The Future of Love: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

Set in New York in 2001, Abbott's debut novel invites us into the lives of good people grappling with the hard choices and the sacrifices they must make to find love. In the manner of a contemporary Edith Wharton, Shirley Abbott exposes the inner lives and the tangled relationships of eight characters—before and after New York's tragedy—and forces both them and the reader to see the world in a new way.

Having assembled a smart, compelling ...
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The Future of Love: A Novel

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Overview

Set in New York in 2001, Abbott's debut novel invites us into the lives of good people grappling with the hard choices and the sacrifices they must make to find love. In the manner of a contemporary Edith Wharton, Shirley Abbott exposes the inner lives and the tangled relationships of eight characters—before and after New York's tragedy—and forces both them and the reader to see the world in a new way.

Having assembled a smart, compelling ensemble, reminiscent of HBO's Six Feet Under, Abbott allows us to see the possibility of happiness even as the city itself is tested. With humor and profound empathy, she has crafted a novel that runs deep into the heart of our need for commitment from friends, lovers, and family.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

An ensemble of New Yorkers swim the choppy waters of romance, circa autumn 2001, in the first novel from memoirist Abbott (The Bookmaker's Daughter). Having lost his job at an investment firm before September 11, Mark Adler siphons off the pressure through an affair with Sophie, his daughter's 25-year-old nursery school teacher. Mark's older parallel is Sam Mendel, a retired publisher with a sexless marriage and a lavish estate in the country. Sam is resigned to his existence until he meets Mark's mother-in-law, Antonia, and discovers a wholly unexpected erotic reincarnation. The limit to each affair is a devotion-Mark to his daughter, Sam to his estate-but even these are imperiled by 9/11. A deeply melancholic Mark exploits his location that morning (he was praying at Trinity Church before a job interview at the South Tower) to disappear and Sam puts his marriage and estate at risk by shacking up with Antonia downtown. Abbott pursues these and other plots-a lesbian commitment ceremony, a gay dancer's fight with cancer-through third-person perspectives that tie up the interconnections in surprisingly effective strokes. Abbott weaves a delicate tapestry of love and apocalypse. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
In her first novel, memoirist Abbott (Love's Apprentice, 1998, etc.) writes an elegiac paean to New York City while incorporating the experience of 9/11 into her varied characters' interwoven lives. The novel's heart is Antonia, a feisty Jewish feminist-activist of a certain age: in other words, a New York classic. Recently widowed and ensconced in her increasingly valuable Village apartment, Antonia finds herself surprisingly well-off. She is happily carrying on a passionate love affair with Sam, a semi-retired, married publisher. Sam's wife Edith is portrayed as a rigid, frigid philistine who avoids the city and resents hosting her lesbian granddaughter's commitment ceremony with the niece of Antonia's longtime downstairs neighbor, a dying gay dancer who has lived with his partner for 45 years. Although Abbott's dialogue occasionally lapses into awkward formality, she imbues these elderly characters with something better than dignity: a joie de vivre the novel's younger characters only strive for. Antonia's earnest daughter Maggie, who lives on the Upper West Side, correctly suspects that her husband Mark is having an affair with their four-year-old daughter's teacher Sophie. Mark is a depressed, depressingly Peter Pan-like man. Having lost his job at an investment firm, he mopes around, guilty and resentful, while caring for his daughter and working part-time in a wine shop. Antonia disapproves of Mark, although the parallel between his unhappy marriage and Sam's is unavoidable. On September 11 Mark is scheduled for a job interview in the North Tower. Instead, he finds himself walking to Sophie's Astoria apartment, where he plans to fake his death in order to escape his unsatisfyinglife. In contrast, the collapse spurs Sam to attempt reconciliation with Edith. Happily for Antonia, neither man's plan proves to be realistic. Elegantly written, conveying an obvious love and despair for the city and its inhabitants.
People Magazine
An "impressive first novel . . . Abbott's nuanced take on New York after the fall is spot-on, reminding us that love is about survival as well as loss."---People, 3-star review
The New York Times
A "wise, funny, generous first novel . . . . [Abbott] elegantly weaves together her lovers' stories. She deftly pokes fun at what we call morality. She allows her characters to be both lovable and ugly."—New York Times
Booklist
"A shrewd, polished comedy of manners. . . .[A] witty yet weighty tale. . . .Abbott opens windows onto all that changes and all that remains the same in love, marriage, class, race, and family life, and considers truth as both a weapon and a key to liberation."—Booklist, starred review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565126404
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Publication date: 3/25/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Shirley Abbott is the author of three memoirs: The Bookmaker's Daughter: A Memory Unbound, which was reviewed on the cover of the New York Times Book Review and was a New York Times Notable Book; Love’s Apprentice: The Romantic Education of a Modern Woman; and Womenfolks: Growing Up Down South. She has taught writing at Smith College and has lectured on memoir writing at many other colleges and universities. She has written numerous magazine articles, as well as books about the Smithsonian Museum and the historic houses of Charleston. The Future of Love is her first novel.
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