A Life in Men: A Novel

A Life in Men: A Novel

by Gina Frangello


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The friendship between Mary and Nix had endured since childhood, a seemingly unbreakable bond, until the mid-1980s, when the two young women embarked on a summer vacation in Greece. It was a trip initiated by Nix, who had just learned that Mary had been diagnosed with a disease that would cut her life short and who was determined that it be the vacation of a lifetime. But by the time their visit to Greece was over, Nix had withdrawn from their friendship, and Mary had no idea why.

Three years later, Nix is dead, and Mary returns to Europe to try to understand what went wrong. In the process she meets the first of many men that she will spend time with as she travels throughout the world. Through them she experiences not only a sexual awakening but a spiritual and emotional awakening that allows her to understand how the past and the future are connected and to appreciate the freedom to live life adventurously.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616201630
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 02/04/2014
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

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Gina Frangello is a cofounder of Other Voices Books and the editor of the fiction section at The Nervous Breakdown. She is also the author of one previous novel and a collection of short stories. She lives in Chicago. Her website is www.ginafrangello.com.

What People are Saying About This

author of "The Time Traveler's Wife" Audrey Niffenegger

"A Life in Men is a terrific book , a tender story of friendship, and a frank story of a young woman's adventures with an assortment of oddly funny, violent, and quirky men. It's intense and beautifully written." --Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife

author of "The Still Point of the Turning World" Emily Rapp

“Gina Frangello’s luminous novel is deeply human, darkly funny, seriously sexy; it brims with artistry and intelligence and heart . . . Frangello illuminates the ways in which life itself is an illusion, but a grand and beautiful and heartbreaking and brilliant one.” --Emily Rapp, author of The Still Point of the Turning World

author of "We Only Know So Much" Elizabeth Crane

“Frangello delivers truth in the form of brave, purposeful, masterful prose.” --Elizabeth Crane, author of We Only Know So Much

author of "This Bright River" Patrick Somerville

“An epic tour de force capturing a woman’s entire life amid a world torn apart by terrorism and alienation, and ultimately, it is an exploration of what individual fulfillment means in such a world, and how grief, identity, sexuality, and responsibility intersect.” --Patrick Somerville, author of This Bright River

author of "Once Upon a River" Bonnie Jo Campbell

“A joyful, ambitious novel that is also an adventure traversing three continents, a meditation on love, sex, and, most important, friendship, which can overcome time, distance, and even death.” Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of Once Upon a River

Customer Reviews

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A Life in Men: A Novel 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
RobertDowns More than 1 year ago
I’d have to say I’m not really used to A LIFE IN MEN, unless we’re sitting around discussing football, or Breaking Bad, or Kansas being whacked from the NCAA Tournament. But you’ve gotta start somewhere, and I rather enjoy usurping the occasional insight about the fairer, more complicated sex. The ones who really do make life worth living, even if I’m occasionally left in the dark, sleeping on the sofa, or forced to change my wardrobe for the second time that day. You see, men like to think we’re in charge, but smart men know the real story. We’re only in charge if our wives grant us knighthood, but again, the smart ones don’t complain too much, because we know the benefits are normally pretty good. This novel certainly had its share of benefits, but it felt more like a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, the language nearly caused me to drift off, floating freely in the otherwise complicated universe, as my hand darted around my face, the characters felt lifelike and real and complicated and motivated. On the other hand, I managed to lose myself a time or two over the course of this tale, I had trouble completing the race, and I nearly stumbled my way toward the finish line. But I wanted to like it. The realness of it all left me more than a little depressed, as I slammed my fist against my chest, and contemplated the difficulties of being a woman. Which tended to scare the hell out of me just a bit, if we’re being perfectly honest here. Because with women, even friendships are extremely complicated, and let’s face it, my brain just doesn’t work that way. I like simplicity, and in fact, there are times I even crave it like crack or chocolate or copulation. What made this story a bit difficult for me to follow was the timeline at times. Maybe I’m just a simple man, but I tend to appreciate a more linear flow to my tale. If you don’t need it, or want it, you’ll probably be a bit happier with this story than I was. And that’s okay. We don’t have to agree on everything, but it’d be nice if we could agree once in a while. As for the rating, we’ll call it Even Steven, and we’ll both move on with our lives. I received this book for free through NetGalley. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good to read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is deep and thought provoking. I really enjoyed it but because it is dark it took me a while to finish.
Flamingo_Book_Club More than 1 year ago
After completing 130 pages of this novel, I was not invested in either the story or the characters. In addition, I found the author's timeline and character jumping as a literary device to be irritating, illogical and unhelpful to the telling of the story because it completely disrupted any progression that the reader may have made. I agree with Robert Downs that the story would have benefitted from a more linear progression. I jumped to the epilogue to see if there was any improvement at the end and, sadly, it appeared to be more of the same.