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An Available Man

3.50  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,053 Ratings  ·  411 Reviews
In this tender and funny novel, award-winning author Hilma Wolitzer mines the unpredictable fallout of suddenly becoming single later in life, and the chaos and joys of falling in love the second time around. When Edward Schuyler, a modest and bookish sixty-two-year-old science teacher, is widowed, he finds himself ambushed by female attention. There are plenty of unattach ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 24th 2012 by Ballantine Books (first published 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Shelley Ettinger
Dec 01, 2011 Shelley Ettinger rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I got this as a free giveaway via Goodreads so yippee for that, and the deal apparently includes a tacit obligation to review so here's a quickie because this is the sort of book I wouldn't ordinarily write anything about beyond assigning the requisite stars. I've read other books by Hilma Wolitzer and An Available Man is true to form. Nothing to write home about, certainly nothing I'll remember anything about after a few weeks, but a well-written fast light read. In literary terms this book, li ...more
Dec 27, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it
This charming and deeply emotional book features Edward Schuyler, a recently widowed science teacher who embarks on the dubious task of what one possible suitor calls "dating after death." It is also a book about grief, betrayal, family, and tapestries. I think tapestries are actually a very good metaphor for this novel because it is the people who thread through our lives, sometimes ending and sometimes being woven back in later, and sometimes new threads need to be added to make a complete pic ...more
Diane Meier
Feb 08, 2012 Diane Meier rated it it was amazing
Such a lovely book. My fear is that younger people may not feel drawn to a book about an older man in widow-weeds and the loves he's lost and found. And what a sad mistake that would be.

I didn't have much in common with Mrs. Dalloway when I found her. Nor with Virginia either, I might say; but I would have missed one of my favorite stories. It made me look at so many things - from choosing flowers and planning a party to missing my own past - differently. And the same goes for Joe Chapin and Pie
Jan 24, 2012 Gregory rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
To quickly summarize the main premise of the book: a man is widowed later in his life and the story follows his life as he looks to recover from the grief and move into a happier state. There was a lot of potential, from how the story was set up, for an interesting perspective on the man's life and the internal struggles present in his mind as he looked to move beyond the death of his wife.

With that said, I felt the book fell far short of any and all expectations. The characters lacked descripti
May 16, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
Being a widower myself at age 40, I wasn't sure I was going to like this book about the life of a man, Edward Schuyler, in later middle age, who loses his wife and is faced with going on to live the rest of his life without her. I mean, how could a woman author understand this life situation from a man's viewpoint any more than a male author could relate to a woman's similar ordeal?
What I found was a very touching and humorous story of Edward's trials and tribulation's in facing his loneliness a
Dec 21, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Hilma Wolitzer has become a favorite of mine since reading The Doctor's Daughter (and, later, Summer Reading). I really enjoyed this new novel, which I read as part of Library Thing's early reviewers program. What could have been throw-away chick-lit (or ma'am-lit, given her target audience) was instead a meaningful exploration of continuing on after the death of a spouse. The novel was interspersed with moments of needed humor as Edward navigated the dating world, but also deep tenderness. Some ...more
Mar 06, 2012 Ita rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up-dnf
I gave this book the 73 page test and it didn't pass. I was bored. I read the last ten pages and decided to read books that interested me more.

The problems:
1. Pacing. It moved slowly. It trickled.

2. The main character was boring. I realize he was depressed, but I got depressed reading about him.

I think I was expecting more since I'd read good reviews of it. Also, it might just be that I'm not in the mood for a slow, "sweet" book right now.

Dec 21, 2011 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, first-reads, fiction
About a year after Edward’s wife Bee dies, her children take it upon themselves to post a personal ad for him in the New York Review of Books. While the resulting responses and encounters are a driving force of the first half of the book, the story is really more of a character study of Edward and the evolution of his grief. He reluctantly tries to move on, though he acknowledges his continuing devotion to his late wife and his appreciation for the life they had together. There is a pervading sa ...more
Jul 13, 2012 Judith rated it really liked it
What a delightful book for light summer reading. Here's the beauty of this book: we are used to books exploring the theme of a middle-aged single woman making her way in the strange new world of singlehood. However, in this story, we see the world from the viewpoint of the middle-aged bachelor, adrift and lonely in his world recently vacated by his beloved wife, who died of cancer.

There's clever and witty dialogue and interesting situations here. Of course the difference between the widow and t
A pleasant change of pace from my usual reading. I rather enjoyed listening to a story about a recently widowed retired man's return to the dating scene. It elicited more than a few chuckles from me although I wouldn't consider it a "humorous" book.

3.5 stars
Jul 14, 2015 Kammie marked it as to-read
Shelves: first-reads
The cover of this book really appeals to me. I am looking forward to reading it.
Dec 13, 2011 bookczuk rated it really liked it
Recommended to bookczuk by: library thing early review
In most couples, women outlive the men. Check out any senior citizens gathering and you'll see that to be a man of a certain age gives you great opportunities, in some cases more than you had at the peak of youth and virility. (In fact, we just happened to watch an episode of Stephen Fry in America (made in 2006) and part of one episode he spoke to a couple of single men in the seniors dancing scene. Pretty funny.)An Available Man picks up life with Edward Schuyler shortly after they death of hi ...more
Apr 15, 2012 thewanderingjew rated it liked it
After a failed love affair, leaving him waiting at the altar, it takes about 2 decades for Edward Schuyler to find the love of his life, Bea Silver. She comes with a ready made family for him to love and enjoy. Sadly, about two decades later, Bea succumbs to Cancer. Her children, from her first marriage, secretly place a personal ad for him, in the local paper, not wanting him to face a life of loneliness. They do not want to see him overwhelmed with sorrow and are hoping to send him down the ro ...more
Dec 11, 2011 Joy rated it it was ok
I won this advanced reader’s copy in a Goodreads giveaway.

Knowing a couple of widowers I recognized some of the situations Edward was put it. Women he didn’t even know would call my grandfather to ask him how he was doing and if he was lonely. Set ups were common.

There were things I liked about Edward. He does not drop out of the lives of his stepchildren and even maintains a relationship with his wife’s’ elderly mother (I actually heard a story about a man who told his sister in law that they w
Feb 21, 2012 Wanda rated it liked it
The protagonist of this book, Edward Schuyler, is a naive sixty-two year old high-school science teacher who has lost his wife to cancer. The story concerns Edward's journey through death, grief, acceptance and a struggle to return to socializing and dating. It is a sweet story. Not one that I recommend people put at the top of their "to read" pile, but a sweet story nevertheless.
Do not be fooled. This is not about love in middle age. Sixty two is not middle age. Forty is. And this is where I ha
Barbara Bryant
Mar 01, 2013 Barbara Bryant rated it liked it
I made an unfair comment while reading this that it was like putting comfy, familiar slippers on, but Wolitzer is worth much more than this.

I have read several of her other books and enjoyed them all--this is the first in a few years. Wolitzer says that she finds bedrooms and kitchens just as interesting as boardrooms and something else, and I agree with her. The personal, intimate details of a "plain" person can be infinitely fascinating, especially when the life described might be much like y
Apr 10, 2012 Charity rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
I'm not sure what I think of this book. I found the premise interesting and the cover art baffling, but mostly I found that what was purported to be a gradual lifting of bereavement as a widower moved on with his life seemed startlingly quick as more than two years (or was it three years...or four?) was crammed into fewer than 300 pages. The passage of time was jumpy; the seasons passed jerkily and suddenly and the present would often be interrupted by a series of scenes from the recent past. I ...more
Kim McGee
Feb 01, 2012 Kim McGee rated it really liked it
An Available Man is a quiet read and is just the ticket for a reader who wants to get to know the characters and visit the scenes as a fly on the wall or bird in the tree. Edward has just lost the love of his life, his wife Bea, and soon after is inundated with dates or fix-ups. His stepdaughters, his friends and neighbors all just want him to not be alone and help him by placing a personal ad. This sets off a series of letters and blind dates that are funny and poignant but leave him still miss ...more
Sue Avis
Jul 03, 2012 Sue Avis rated it really liked it
This is dear story of a recently widowed man and his life after the death of his beloved wife. A quick
read, but fulfilling nonethless. Edward, the main character had married late in life and had inherited
stepchildren and a mother-in-law, and had been blissfully happy for a short 20 years before his wife
died quickly from cancer.
Although understandably grief stricken, he continued to search for happiness where he could and
has a smattering of brief, unsatisfactory liaisons before finding true lov
Lynn Pribus
Dec 20, 2015 Lynn Pribus rated it it was amazing
Wonderful little book. I kept reading bits of others to make it last. Wonderful language. Telling sketches of the very authentic seeming characters. Edward is a widower and the book covers the three years after the death of his wife.

She had two children when they married but never had any together. His continuing relationship with them and with his MIL are great. (MIL is 90 and an amusing, together and caring old bird.) Many tender moments such as when the dog dies and stirs up all his grief abo
Hannes Spitz
Dec 30, 2015 Hannes Spitz rated it really liked it
ein echtes Frauenbuch - deswegen für Männer amüsant. Allerdings sind die "Helden" alle schlank und schön oder zumindest charmant - wie es sich für einen Frauenroman gehört. Die Charaktere sind aber mit spitzer Feder gezeichnet und die Verwicklungen überraschend und trotzdem glaubhaft.
Feb 19, 2015 Jessica rated it liked it
Rounded up from 2.5 because this wasn't really up my alley. Widower seeks new love. Blah blah blech
Steve Lindahl
Nov 08, 2014 Steve Lindahl rated it it was amazing
I am 64 years old and happily married, just like Edward Schuyler was before Pancreatic Cancer took his wife, Bee. Although I don't share the grief the widower experiences, I can imagine the horror of facing life alone after years of sharing it with the person you love. But the fact that Edward's situation scares me, didn't stop me from enjoying An Available Man by Hilma Wolitzer. It didn't hurt that an important scene took place at the Cloisters, one of my favorite places in New York.

This book i
Melinda Worfolk
Sep 23, 2014 Melinda Worfolk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2014, funny
Loved it. Very gentle, humorous, and populated with flawed but likeable characters. It's the story of Edward, a widower whose grown stepchildren gently but firmly prod him into the dating scene, a couple of years after the death of his beloved wife. Nothing very unexpected happens, but because Wolitzer is a good storyteller and a good writer, the novel is touching and funny and fresh-seeming.
John Owen
Mar 03, 2015 John Owen rated it liked it
The book is ok for what it is, which is a "cozy" story of a widower who suffers the loss of his wife and manages to (eventually) find love again. The start was slow and the characters seemed like cardboard cutouts while the story read like a plot summary.

After 100 pages or so, the story picked up a bit and was interesting, but after this brief bit of hope, the ending reverted to skeletal version of a story. What the story is missing, I think, is a bit of dynamic tension. Except for the middle wh
Jul 21, 2014 Sharon rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
When Edward Schuyler is widowed he finds the world a very different place, women are dropping off casseroles and the inevitable match making starts with friends. He finds that there are plenty of women around, eager for his company. Now whether he wants to meet these women is another thing. Edward is not ready, he is mourning his beloved Bee and prefers to be home with his dog. He loves his work as a teacher and in most cases, is content and not feeling there's a void he needs to fill, in fact, ...more
Nov 17, 2014 Delma rated it liked it
Do you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain? I really enjoyed this book, mainly because the main character Edward is such a sweet soul. Edward is a low key 62-year-old science teacher He enjoys birdwatching, his dog Bingo, his grown stepchildren and mother-in-law, and, most of all, his wife Bee, who is dead of pancreatic cancer.

When a man becomes a widower, desperate women beat a path to his door bearing casseroles and innuendo. Edward is not ready for all but he's thrust into the da
Melanie Moore
Jan 18, 2015 Melanie Moore rated it it was amazing
Much like animals seem to be able to sense the weak link in the pack, my mother could tell I was having a vulnerable moment in my You Bought It, You Read It Challenge. I had accepted a book from a coworker to read – The Dog Year- and I was determined to move on to the next book on my shelf. Until mom told me about this book.

I kept pretty good tabs on my Goodreads status updates so I have decided to provide those to you here.
01/03 marked as currently reading
01/03 page 24 "#amreading Of course I l
Feb 06, 2016 Karla rated it liked it
As this novel opens, one has to feel sympathy for the "available man" of the title, Edward Schuyler. In his 60's, he is recently widowed and trying to navigate through multiple challenges: grief for the loss of his true love, the actions of well-meaning friends and family, the "curse" of being an attractive, recently-single man, and even an aging pet (a dog named Bingo).
This story is for fans of "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" although most of the characters are not as interesting and the plot do
Mar 29, 2015 Deb rated it it was ok
In this short novel, private-school science teacher Edward Schuyler loses wife Bea to pancreatic cancer. When his stepchildren decide he should move on with life, they place a personal ad on his behalf in the New York Review of Books, and he starts dating in a desultory way.

This sounds like a funny premise, but it isn't played for laughs, or if it is, it didn't make me laugh. It is inoffensive, and for me dull as dishwater. The plot is barely there, and only someone who has never read a love sto
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Hilma Wolitzer (b. 1930) is a critically hailed author of literary fiction. She is a recipient of Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, and a Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award. She has two daughters—an editor and a novelist—and lives with her husband in New York City, where she continues to write.
More about Hilma Wolitzer...

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