Wise Men: A Novel

Wise Men: A Novel

by Stuart Nadler
3.3 13


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Wise Men: A Novel by Stuart Nadler

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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316126489
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 02/05/2013
Pages: 335
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Stuart Nadler is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he was awarded a Truman Capote Fellowship and a Teaching-Writing Fellowship. Recently, he was the Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin. His fiction has appeared in The Atlantic. He is the author of the story collection The Book of Life.

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Wise Men 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
SamanthaCopping More than 1 year ago
This book took me quite a while to finish, but I don't think that's to its discredit. It's not a page-turner, but once you finish it stays with you (the ending is a kicker!). Its a thoughtful book, and a carefully written one. I've described it to friends as what To Kill a Mockingbird would be if Atticus was a jerk instead of a hero.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I checked out this book from the library after reading the many favorable reviews from well established authors and newspapers. I could spend the next hour writing about how utterly disappointed I am in this book but instead I'll try to sum in up a few paragraphs.  "Wise Men"  takes place over a fifty-plus year period and weakly studies the race relations between a Nouvea Riche family and their black caretaker's family. Hilly, the narrator of the book is at odds with his racist Jewish father (Arthur) as to how he has acquired their newfound wealth as well as how Arthur treats their caretaker, Lem. The cliches begin with Hilly falling for Lem's lovely sixteen-year-old niece, Savannah. Now this is in Cape Cod in 1952 and all is forbidden. Despite Hilly trying to prove to everyone that he is not like his father, he causes a series of events to unfold that sets into motion tragedy for the African-American family. But since Hilly really is "a good guy" -the writer tries hard to sell us on this-he decides to leave his life of privilege and after college slums for a newspaper, writing about race-relations. Hilly, who has never gotten over Savannah, finally tracks her down and of course more tragedy ensues. I found this part of the plot to be completely unbelievable since Hilly never took responsibility for the the tragedy he caused in his youth.  Savannah not holding any kind of grudge upon seeing Hilly for the first time in twenty years, acts like his is just a long-lost friend who reconnected with her via Facebook. Of course their lives are complicated because they both have life partners, but that doesn't stop Hilly from hoping until he is forced to return to the wealth he abandoned when he and his parents learn that his long-suffering girlfriend, Jenny is pregnant. Of course Hilly decides to use his family wealth and become a philanthropist, helping many people throughout his life and raising a family with Jenny.  This book is far from the love story it is being billed as. There are so many plot holes and such poor character development that I can't believe it ever got the green light to be published. The plot is preposterous and simply too silly to be believable. The characters feel like caricatures from "Mandingo", "Gone with the Wind" and "Driving Miss Daisy." I won't be reading any of Mr. Nadler's future novels. His debut novel was a telltale sign of the lack of new talent in the publishing world but who still manage to get published for reasons that are beyond me.
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Jayarby More than 1 year ago
The majority of the story is about Hilly Wise, the son of obnoxious nouveau riche Jewish attorney, Arthur Wise. Hilly has a near-stalking obsession with Savannah, a poor local black girl he knew briefly when they were teenagers. His odyssey of trying to contact her through the convening years is two-fold. He wants to rekindle what he perceives as a love interest between them, of which she seems to be indifferent, but also because he feels responsible for sending Savannah's Uncle Lem, Arthur Wise's handyman, to prison for stealing some papers from Arthur's briefcase. These papers play a part in a big family secret that is revealed on the last page of which, I might add, I just assumed during the course of reading the book. The stories I really enjoy are ones that leave me satisfied as I close the book for the last time. Satisfied in that, I'm glad I took the time to read it and also a feeling of sadness that the story is over. I never got that with this book.
SUEHAV More than 1 year ago
I,too kept waiting for this book to get better. The father is not just flawed he's a dyed in the wool bigot who NEVER changes. At the beginning he's just a so so lawyer who "gets lucky" [if you can call it that] By the end the author makes him out to be a genius. I would NOT call this a family saga...not enough detail about any of the other female characters except Savanna. The main lead is Hilly who hates his Dad's money [and how it was made] but takes it in the end and gives some away through philanthropy. I don't have to believe all the books I read but this one didn't even come close. Save your $$$$$$
FictionLoverNYC More than 1 year ago
I adored this book. It reminded me of The Help in that it observes race relations and the struggles of African Americans. I like Stuart Nadler's writing style and found the story compelling. I was quite surprised when I learned it was a first novel. I just bought his collection of short stories and eagerly await Mr. Nadler's future novels. I read a lot of fiction and this was my favorite book in a long while. Highly recommended for readers of serious fiction and family sagas.
Charlie57 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this novel. The journey of Hilly, the narrator, is compelling. His father, Robert, is an interesting but flawed human being. Hilly's recollections of his father are powerful. I hated the dad at the beginning of the novel and loved him by the end. Perhaps like his son, I forgave him for his many sins. Stuart Nadler has a writing style that is lean and beautiful. Wise Men features complex characters and a memorable plot. I would recommend Wise Men to readers who enjoy love stories and family dramas. I look forward to the author's next novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept waiting for there to be a purpose to the story and was completely disappointed. Ridiculous how he follows one person around all his life and for what reason. Main character was very boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago