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Wise Men: A Novel
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Wise Men: A Novel

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  1,431 Ratings  ·  209 Reviews
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 t
Published February 5th 2013 by Reagan Arthur Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Larry Hoffer
Feb 26, 2013 Larry Hoffer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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, A
Philippe Malzieu
There are literary places. A geographical conjunction of human and social factors able to create the drama. It was for Proust Cabourg and the Grand Hôtel. Cap Code belongs to this places.
US aristocracy meet between here. This human society has its own codes and rituals. They live protected in magnific house.The son of Wise, a great and powerful lawyer, is in love with the niece of Lem, his black domestic. That could be a mix of «Downton Abbey» and «Guess who's coming to dinner» (last Spencer Tr
Mar 12, 2013 Lou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
They, the Wises, started with a humble beginning but a fathers ambition to succeed and to propose propelled them to riches, fame and dirty hands. One son wants to be successful on his own without the riches of his father, he wishes to be a great space between riches due to the aid of his fathers money. Money that had been won through deaths, deaths of others, as the story unravels you will see how a family lived and ended through tensions of the era concerned a time where Dr Martin Luther King w ...more
I'm halfway through and I don't like anything about this book. I'm throwing in the towel on this one.
Mary Ronan Drew
Aug 06, 2013 Mary Ronan Drew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love first novels. So much promise and such a thrill when a first-time author has written a really good book. Stuart Nadler has written a first novel and it's a really, really good book: Wise Men.

The story begins in a fictional Cape Cod town located between Wellfleet and Truro where Art Wise has bought a modest summer house. Art had been an ambulance chaser until he took on a class action suit against an airline, accusing the company of negligence. Before long he was working for airline compan
Mar 18, 2013 Carrie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
While the descriptive writing in this was really pretty good, I did not care for the rest at all. The relationships between the characters are completely unbelievable.(view spoiler) ...more
Jeri Collins
Jun 09, 2015 Jeri Collins rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
This book was such a disappointment. It was selected based on the interesting description but sadly the story itself did not live up to the book jacket. I don't think this is a story about fathers and sons at all, nor is it about racial violence. There is a father and a son in the story; and racial violence occurs but what either of those things have to do with the story line is tenuous at best.
I think it is about the narrator who is a guy that never grows up. Hilly is a Peter Pan type of guy.
Feb 07, 2013 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won this through Goodreads First Reads & this book was absolutely amazing. It was beautifully written and after finishing it I was left staring at the words, mouth gaping trying to place my feelings about how it all turned out. It really is such a strong, emotional beautiful story and I can not wait to recommend it to everyone that I know. I do have to say that I really wish many things had happened differently but life isn't a fairytale, not everyone has a happy ending and in it's own way ...more
Apr 03, 2013 Julie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The book jacket screams, "... reminiscent of Harper Lee.." , "winsome and compelling narrator", "brilliantly plotted and carefully observed". I'd have to agree. If you lived in an alternate universe, that is, where any kind of falderal and gibberish passes for literature.

This book has as much in common with Harper Lee as Homer, the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey, has in common with Homer Jay Simpson, erstwhile Safety Inspector at the Springfield Nuclear Plant. Harper Lee lived, and underst
Apr 05, 2013 Yasmin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based upon the book description, Wise Men was something different and not what I expected. For me, the storyline didn't match the description or maybe I just didn't want a story that was centered primarily around Hilly and his horrible father. Or one that only treated Savannah as a secondary character. Also, while I know that bigots/racists come in all colors, shapes, sizes, genders,religions, still annoys the heck out of me that another group that was abused, mistreated, persecuted ...more
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 ...more
Feb 24, 2013 Val rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book, as told from the first person, reads like a memoir. It spans 7 decades and multiple socioeconomic levels. It covers race relations and interpersonal relations. It tells of the miscommunications between and father and a son. It is a microcosm of a life. I was sucked into its pages and didn't want to leave until the very end, when the world of the book was totally upended. It was very well written. I'm looking forward to the next novel by Stuart Nadler.
Feb 17, 2013 Huda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Something about it reminded me of The Great Gatsby-- the story is in the shadow of a rich, self-made man who, while not admirable, is very compelling. It kept me wanting to read even though I did not love any of the characters. At times, it felt melodramatic and I hesitated between 3 and 4 stars. But in the end, I feel it captured a remarkable transition in American history and it was beautifully rendered without the writing being overdone.
Feb 28, 2013 Vince rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars. Nadler has assembled several elements of a good story in Wise Men but never seems to quite pull it together in a cohesive way. The characters are just shadows and never fully realized. The drama is not all that dramatic. Sorry, but at about the half-way point I was just reading so I could say I finished the book. I believe the author has potential so here's hoping that his next effort shows improvement.
Jul 16, 2013 Stephen6400 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It felt like a collection of red herrings poorly weaved together. Sporadic character development, limited sense of suspense, lacking strong visual descriptions ... and the last page 'reveal' was pretty weak. There were some good ideas around which to create a good novel, but this one did not work for me.
Lindsay Gloade-Raining Bird
I can already assume this will be a contender for my favourite book of the year. The son of a lawyer, Hilly Wise, is caught up in a life he doesn’t recognize when his father wins a big negligence case against an airline. Part of the nouveau riche in Cape Cod in the early ’50s Hilly meets and falls in love with a young African American girl, Savannah, at a time when their relationship only finds obstacle after obstacle, not the least among them, his overtly racist father. The summer they spend to ...more
Jun 10, 2013 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admired Wise Men more than outright loving it, though there’s a lot to like: the sweep of its settings, its tackling of race and power and extreme wealth, its tenderness towards its characters, and how unafraid it is to tip its hat toward sentimentality. Hilly Wise, who begins his narration at age 17 in the summer of 1952, develops an occasional childlike sense of wonder that makes a comparison to Cheever not at all out of line. There are echoes of Roth here too (the Wises are Jewish) and mayb ...more
Apr 16, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 06, 2014 Ffiamma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana, ebook
le vicissitudini dei wise- padre e figlio- dalla fama improvvisa del genitore, che andrà a scombussolare l'adolescenza del giovane hilton- passando attraverso un amore giovanile non vissuto e una ricchezza spropositata- fino all'epilogo cinquanta anni dopo.
ho adorato i racconti di stuart nadler, ma questo suo primo, ambizioso romanzo è stato un po' deludente. tante pagine, tante descrizioni a volte pleonastiche, tanti temi importanti appena accennati e poi trascurati, alcuni personaggi davvero v
I wanted to like this book more than I did but, ultimately, it just tried to be about too many things and too many people. The "relationship" between Savannah and Hilly was never convincing, Hilly always referred to Lem as his "friend" despite the fact that he was a.) his employee and b.) someone he wronged/lied about at every opportunity, and the random plot lines--reporter from Durham doing a book on his father, the girlfriend-turned-wife, the plane crash that is mentioned at the beginning and ...more
The story of Hilton Wise as he grows up under the shadow of his father and the irreversible consequences of a decision made during his seventeenth year. The first half of the book moved quickly--I was very absorbed in the story. The second half, however, was missing something. I would have liked Nadler to expand more on crucial elements within the storyline. The ending is a bit of a surprise, but it leaves the reader wanting -- I can't put my finger on what exactly, but I did feel there were too ...more
Janet Richards
Mar 25, 2013 Janet Richards rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, audible
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gary Warburton
I read this after seeing that the editors at had chosen it as their spotlight book for January 2013. I usually don't read books based on the recommendations of critics and now I remember why. The editors at must be easily impressed. I believe they compared this book to "To Kill a Mockingbird" and to one of Roth's works. I've never read any Roth, but this book doesn't come anywhere close to even touching "To Kill a Mockingbird" greatness. At best it is on par with some of Ni ...more
Apr 09, 2013 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a book with amazing potential. Unfortunately it was unable to live up to that potential. The book description had the reader poised for what was sure to be an interesting read and to be fair there was evidence throughout the book that the author had the intention to deliver just such a book. In the end all that was left was a book full of character who were never fully developed, unanswered questions, plot lines that were simply abandoned and a sense that something had been missed.
Hilton (Hilly) Wise is the son of wealthy lawyer, Arthur Wise, who made millions suing airlines. It is 1952 when the Wise family, newly rich, move to wealthy Cape Cod, but whilst his parents embrace their new found wealth, Hilly is uncomfortable with it. When, at the age of seventeen, he meets Savannah, the niece of their "houseboy" Lem he cannot know that this will be the start of a lifetime's obsession. His love remains unrequited, but many years later Hilly decides to actively seek her out. I ...more
Feb 21, 2013 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was okay, but not the great book it sounded like it was going to be. The characters just didn't seem real to me, the father a caricature of a vulgar super-rich guy, the mother almost nonexistent, the protagonist alternately scattered, obsessed, principled, and sold-out lazy. The race issue didn't really seem "integrated" (excuse the pun) with the narrative despite being central in a way ... overall disappointing.
Mar 16, 2013 Margot rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was pretty disappointing considering all the hype it got at Amazon. The story has been told before and it seemed just to bob around without much direction. The "surprise" at the ending seemed very contrived and did not really deliver any bang. This one really reads like a first novel. It has some good moments and it does hold the reader's attention but falls short of being anything special.
Mar 02, 2013 Glenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spectacular! Storyline and character development reminiscent of Harper Lee as the story opens in the 50's. The novel brings the reader willingly from the 50's thru present day with one not wanting it to end. Wonderful story and a richly written text that will make many think of their own lives and how they have grown or not, over the last 50 years. This is a great novel, sure to be a classic.
Mar 25, 2013 Jane rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Early into this book, set on Cape Cod in the fifties, an older African American man, speaking to a teen, ends a comment with the phrase, "you do the math". I stopped reading at that point. If the author didn't see that as completely out of time and place, an editor should have.
Apr 10, 2013 Kathy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book started off very good and slowed down about halfway. I wanted to like it more but ....I lost interest in the main characters. The descriptive writing is very good, it had potential.
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  • Autobiography of Us
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  • The Unknowns
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  • The Right-Hand Shore
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  • Little Wolves
Stuart Nadler is a recipient of the 5 Under 35 award from the National Book Foundation. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he was awarded a Truman Capote Fellowship and a Teaching-Writing Fellowship, he was also the Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin. He is the author of Wise Men, and the story collection The Book of Life.
More about Stuart Nadler...

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