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Glover's Mistake

3.05 of 5 stars 3.05  ·  rating details  ·  281 ratings  ·  68 reviews
"Terrific. It's the kind of book Jane Austen would've written had she been male and hipper-and had Internet access."
-"Chicago Tribune"
With his debut novel, "Utterly Monkey," Nick Laird won acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic for his deft humor and sharp-eyed powers of observation. In this new novel, disaffected thirty-something college teacher David introduces his fo...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published July 9th 2009 by Penguin Books (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Ron Charles
By the time you realize just what a dangerous writer Nick Laird is, it's too late to break away. This new novel from Zadie Smith's husband comes on all wit and chumminess, a buddy story about two London roommates in love with the same woman. But in the familiar surroundings of romantic comedy, Laird is busy plotting something far more unsettling. "Glover's Mistake" turns imperceptibly toward the poisonous effects of bitterness, and it'll leave you feeling wary all day, as though you'd lain down...more
Denali
I took some time to look at pictures of Nick Laird on the Internet so just in case I ever run into him in New York I can give him a piece of my mind. What a load of garbage this book is. Things like this make me hate the publishing/reviewing complex for feeding us hot new authors who really can't write. Laird's incompetent fumblings at character development suggest he should stick to poetry. His satire is weak an unoriginal and even my internet rantings are better than the ones he writes in the...more
Maya Panika
Much better than I thought it would be.

A very readable novel though it wouldn’t have been my first choice – the cover blurb; ‘London art scene… new money… intellectual pretension… Contemporary London romance...’ didn’t inspire me with confidence and I was expecting the usual Young London nonsense.

What I found was an absorbing, readable novel in which the a lazy, jealous and entirely amoral protagonist undertakes a quietly selfish agenda with extraordinary ruthlessness. The writing is superb, ful...more
Ria
An engaging read, this novel tells the story of Ruth Marks, James Glover and David Pinner who through circumstances end up in a bizarre love triangle.
Ruth is David's old college lecturer who he has secretly had a crush on for many years so when a chance meeting leads them to renew their acquaintance, David thinks he might have a chance with her and that she may remember him as one of her students.
Unfortunately, though Ruth is happy to be friends with David, her romantic inclinations run towards...more
oriana
I was pleasantly surprised by his last book, Utterly Monkey, so if I find a cheap copy of this someplace, I expect I'd be pleasantly surprised by it too.

**

Oh ha, look at what I wrote up there like three years ago! Even though I totally forgot all about that & Nick Laird too, I totally took my own advice & scored this at a book swap for free, and now I will love it.
Ardia
This book drove me crazy! Nick is one of those people, everyone knows one, that only sees the negative and ugly side of things. He is one of those dreadful "why me" kind of people. Ruth is his art teacher in college, who he meets up with again a bit later in life. She is an artist, outgoing, somewhat egocentric and beautiful. Nick "rescues" her at a party, and reads more into their relationship than he should. While he is starting to think of them as a couple, Ruth becomes interested in his flat...more
Christa
eh. Creepy lonely unlikeable jerk uses internet to stalk and entangle himself into the lives of people he thinks he cares about. Meh.
Kate
This book grew on me. It's kind of icky, but I am glad I stuck with it.
Pam
Books and stories have always sparked debate but the most perplexing “argument” to me is that one where “plot” is pitted against “character development”. Now I wouldn’t put it in exactly those words; character development, to me, is something along the lines of Charles Dickens characters making their forlorn way through muddy, rainy streets, learning a thing or two every now and then.The opposite of action to me, is more like the writer’s personal philosophy regarding his or her subject.

Satire i...more
Holly
An intimate (insular?) story of the relationship among two young British men and an older, successful, beautiful artist set in modern-day London.

This book fits into the camp of writing that is often considered (by mostly male critics) "feminine," the small but not insignificant realm of the individual. It is about finding love in the 21st century. Told in the third person, the story is primarily told from David Pinner's perspective, a slighty overweight, balding 35-yr old loner who teaches Engli...more
Christine
There is a particular brand of black humor and jaded view of life that seems to accompany life in contemporary London. It’s very compelling, even enjoyable, despite its somewhat bleaker view of life. Nick Laird has captured it perfectly and infused it into his novel, “Glover’s Mistake,” a book that engages even when it makes readers slightly uncomfortable.

“Glover’s Mistake” is a novel about contemporary manners as much as Jane Austen’s writings were in the 19th century, and parallel the misguide...more
Felicity
What I remember loving about Nick Laird's first novel, "Utterly Monkey," was just how funny it was. Don't ask me what it was about...I just remember it was seriously hilarious. So I had high expectations of "Glover's Mistake," Nick Laird's second novel (and also because he's Zadie Smith's husband...the guy has good taste in authors). "Glover's Mistake" follows a year in the life of always miserable, neurotic David--and his flatmate (roommate) James (Glover). Enter stage left...Ruth, the artist w...more
tina
I like Nick Laird, but I enjoy his wife's novels more than his.
I really liked the ending here. But until the ending, the pace is quite slow. It's difficult to stick with such a dismal man as David-so many layers of discontent. Throughout the entire novel David seeks to sabatage his best friend's relationship. He deletes reparatory text messages, lies, and tells Glover things he shouldn't. But there's a missing piece somewhere. David tells us love is antiquated. Love is unsatisfactory; it's a ho...more
Sarah
I cannot believe I got as hooked to this disaster of a book as I did. By disaster, I mean the characters were all absolute wrecks, and then a reserved, love triangle, soap opera-type of story is added in. Almost pure trash, but I indulged myself on it.

So, David is a professor in his late-30's in love with Ruth, an artist in her late-40's who was his art professor; Ruth falls for David's roommate James Glover, an early-20's bartender. Glover falls in love with her. David has a jealous personalit...more
emi Bevacqua
Nick Laird is a brilliant Irish writer, this novel is super current, about modern art in London and a warped love triangle. The three characters are British pudgy introverted David Pinner (overweight, introverted, mid-30s depressed single college teacher), David's 23 yr old roommate James Grover who tends bar and isn't quite through with his personal metamorphosis (freshman year of mechanical engineering school he was fat and religious, over the summer he took up exercise with zeal and by the ti...more
A
I suspect this book is more accurately a 3-star, but sometimes it's a case of the right book at the right time. Fall is pretty, but it's a difficult time to be a lonely city boy (or girl): winter -- that awful season of good cheer, camaraderie, and romance -- looms ominously over all singletons, just as inclement weather and the vagaries of city life start to truly grate, and the carefree postcoital haze of summer seems to have dissipated completely. Then lo, at your most vulnerable moment, alon...more
Bookmarks Magazine
Laird's witty romantic comedy quickly evolves into something darker, "as though you'd lain down with Nick Hornby and woken up beside Muriel Spark" (Washington Post). Surprisingly -- and dangerously, warns the New York Times Book Review -- Laird rests this multilayered, character-driven novel on two unlikable protagonists: the bitter, unapologetic David and the thoughtless, self-absorbed Ruth. However, the believable relationship between David and James, a more sinister version of The Odd Couple,...more
Iris
I really enjoyed this book. I'm not sure if it will be loved by all who read it, and I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to my reading buddies. However, for some reason that I can't quite put my finger on I really liked it. Perhaps it's because I could really relate to the main character David. I'm not proud of that fact as he was bitter at times and conniving, and he didn't really show his true self to the rest of the world. However, I've definitely had some of the same thoughts that he had thr...more
Anittah
Mar 04, 2012 Anittah rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who loved the movie Greenberg
Mediocre, uneven dick lit.

- Mini scenes are too short to draw in the reader, and disconnected from one another
- David is not a compelling character
- Glover is inconsistently characterized: his mind is referred to as "very average" and yet he is a mechanical engineer
- Better as a screenplay?
- Improves around page 150
- Dark

[David had] been vengeful [in college] and quick to take umbrage, had found refuge in books and movies, and as a general policy scorned the world. (p.21)

A new partner is at bes
...more
Laura
'It reconfirmed something in his mind: what passes for love is imperfect knowledge. Not knowing, initially, allows faithlessness to dress up as it's opposite; casts the inarticulate as enigmatic, the selfish as forgetful, the angry as impassioned. Everyone you meet is wearing some disguise, and the lover is the best liar of the lot.'
Danimal
Laird is obviously a good writer, and I enjoyed this book quite a bit for the first two thirds. But then it became obvious that he was a British writer, which often means he's happy having his bad guy protagonist get away with being bad, unlike US writers, who often make their bad guy protags learn how to be better. (Nick Hornby being the obvious exception.)

This book is sort of the dramatic version of that movie The Baxter -- it's a romantic novel about the people not in the romance. Interesting...more
Marlene
Sep 02, 2009 Marlene rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Marlene by: LLoyd
Reading this for my book club. Just started it and am finding it an easy quick read, feels like popcorn so far.
As continued to read this book I couldn't put it down because the main character David a despicable human being whom at first you are rooting for until you realize how hideous he is; as my friend said, not unlike an internet Iago, which helps to give the book a frame of reference. I like the subject of older woman younger man relationship and the jealousy that rears up around it. The id...more
Heithem
Contrary to the reviews, I thought this was a decent book. True, it doesn't move very fast, but maybe that's how life goes. One review thought the protagonist was unsuccessful at what he was trying to protagonize (I know that's not a word) -I don't think I agree and I think you will have to judge for yourself. I really liked all of the author's well turned phrases. They were obviously well-thought out and deliberate. (Not that well-turned phrases aren't really usually accidental.) At first I tho...more
Kelly
"Knockm knock!"
"Who's there?"
"Common sense!"
"Oh, come back later. Ridicule is a visiting at the moment."

Well this was a snartastic read. Nick Laird (thank God he's not on here, I get enough hate mail) made us laugh in delight with his previous novels, but Glover's Mistake is just...wrong. It is too forced, and in my humble opinion, he doesn't know the first thing about blogging and he tries to hard to connect. Nothing irritates me more than an author that thinks they know what they are talking...more
Sara
I didn't hate this book nearly as much as the other reviewers did. It was well written and entertaining and definitely kept me interested until the very last page. Granted, it was a story that made me angry - due to the circumstances within it and the actions of the main characters, but that's part of the STORY. That means it is well written because it caused me to feel emotions. That doesn't make the author a terrible person (even though it really does make you want to punch him in the face for...more
Anne Charnock
Thwarted ambition and disappointment is the theme of this novel, which some reviewers have labelled as lad-lit. I think that’s a tad harsh. David Pinner teaches English, is unlucky in love, and writes a vicious art review blog The Damp Review. He bumps into his former teacher from Goldsmiths art college, Ruth Marks, now a successful New York-based artist. She’s old enough to be his mother but he becomes infatuated. She falls for his better-looking, bartender flatmate James Glover, a committed Ch...more
kasia
I was going to give it 3 stars, but upon reflection, I decided it was a much better novel than I'd initially given it credit for. Don't expect a warm, light-hearted read a la Utterly Monkey. This is a much darker, even somewhat depressing novel. It starts off fun and pleasant (Laird's prose is always wonderful), and becomes a character study in how a person can become small-minded and vicious. It's an interesting book, it's just not exactly a fun one, despite its occasional humor. Detailed blog...more
Mackenzie Brooks
Let's just say I wouldn't want to be a writer married to Zadie Smith.
David
Not completely dreadful, but not particularly worthwhile either. The characters that form the tawdry little love triangle at the center of this story are malevolent narcissists. Nick Laird writes well enough to keep one reading, but ultimately it's hard to care much about the poseurs in this book. Other reviewers have praised the deftness of Laird's satire - it seemed fairly heavy-handed to me.

Although this particular story seemed like a miss to me, Laird did strike me as being smart and talent...more
Jennifer
Good writing but the story was just too blah.
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Nick Laird was born in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland in 1975. He read English Literature at Cambridge University, and then worked for several years as a lawyer specializing in international litigation.

He is the author of two novels, Utterly Monkey and Glover's Mistake, and two collections of poetry, To A Fault and On Purpose. A new volume of poetry, Go Giants, is forthcoming from Faber in Janua...more
More about Nick Laird...
Utterly Monkey To a Fault On Purpose Go Giants The Easter Parade

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“We would all rather be loved for what we seem to be.” 2 likes
“She was privileged enough to feel at home anywhere, and to equate squalor with authenticity.” 0 likes
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