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The Ladies' Man

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  1,461 ratings  ·  134 reviews
A straight-talking comic novel with a silver-tongued anti-hero. The re-appearance of Nash Harvey on the doorstep of the Dobbin sisters -- attractive red-headed spinsters Kathleen, Adele and Lois -- thirty years after he deserted Adele on the evening of their engagement party, is the opening of this superb romantic comedy. Debonair and pathologically unreliable, Nash is abo ...more
Paperback, 275 pages
Published by Fourth Estate (GB) (first published June 15th 1998)
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Average rating 3.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,461 ratings  ·  134 reviews

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Nick Duretta
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Intriguing, light story about three sisters in their forties and fifties finally coming to terms with their single state and finding men. The central character is Harvey Nash, a pathetic boy-child who coasts through life on his good looks, never really maturing, endlessly repeating mistakes of the past. There are some weighty themes here but they're encased in a sitcom-like jokiness that at times works and at other times doesn't. Still, this was an entertaining and well-crafted read.
Jun 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
Ugh! I did not really like anything about this book. Not the characters, not the way it ended. Thank goodness it was short because even when I don't like a book, I have a need to finish it and see how it ends. This one almost felt like she just stopped writing when she hit 200 pages. Couldn't wait to move on to a new book.
Sandra Hutchison
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor-pathos
This is one of those Lipman books, like THE PURSUIT OF ALICE THRIFT, that have fun with an awful guy, the ladies' man of the title, who manages to spark a number of stories. (There seems to be an overarching philosophy in her world that awful people have a way of driving good people into each other's arms.) It has so many characters that I was slightly less emotionally involved than I have been with others of hers I've recommended, but it's just so damned funny. It also has a flashback scene of ...more
Elizabeth Bober
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the heck out of this fun romantic comedy. In the hands of another writer it could turn sour or saccharine but Lippmann writes with the perfect amount of insight, humor, and good-heartedness.
Nov 26, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up used after having seen the film adaptation of another book by Lipman called "Then She Found Me" which I'd really enjoyed. Faithful to the cover of this novel it really tries for a classic old fashioned Hollywood romantic screwball comedy with witty banter & characters, but everything just falls flat. There is a jolt of modern sexuality that plays in once in a while but the effect just comes off as crassness that doesn't jibe with the general tone. The threadbare plot involve ...more
Apr 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit
This really isn't my usual type of book, but I rescued it from my sister's bookshelf. I was quite glad that I did.

The story is about the three Dobbin sisters, their brother and the return into their lives of Nash Harvey, the man who jilted Adele Dobbin many years ago. Nash is the 'ladies man' of the title, stringing on a number of women as he uses the excuse of catching up with Adele to escape a failing career and relationship.

This was funny, very different, and although
Mar 26, 2015 rated it liked it
In the "I just want to be entertained" category. And, really, what is wrong with that. Sometimes. Put this in a stack that includes Diane Johnson and Cathleen Shine. Summer is just around the corner.
Aug 18, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not my type of book. Silly, waste of time. Not entertaining and I didn't learn anything from it. It was on my bookshelf and I read it. I'll personally avoid this author, not because she's a bad author but I just don't like silly books.
Dec 16, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not her best book. I didn't like all the characters, and it wasn't as humorous as her best works. I still think "The Family Man" was by far her best book. I'm rather sad that it's the first one I read, and the rest haven't quite measured up.
Aug 01, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Skip this one and read the others

I’ve enjoyed other books by this author, but not this one. It’s populated with characters so flat you’d swear you were reading about them in the newspaper. The whole plot revolves around one of them doing something completely uncharacteristic, and his real motivation is never explained. The book seems to have been written bloodlessly and then given to some third party to paste in a few nods to sex. I finished only because I hate to quit. Something went really
Tricia Culp
I don’t normally even finish a 2-star book, but this one was clever enough I wanted to know what happened. But I just felt empty at the end. Like it had no soul. Ive heard Lipman called a modern Jane Austen - comedy of manners type thing - and this was a modern comedy of manners, but it had none of Austen’s character development or universal-human-spirit appeal. Maybe this isn’t her best work, but I don’t plan on picking her up again.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Parts of this book dragged for me, and I found over half the characters annoying to some degree. That said, I did want to see how it ended. Given the state of the world right now, I consider that a win. She draws her characters well, although some of this plot is implausible. I do want to read more by her.
Lori Adams
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love books that make you belly laugh. Lipman does just that with this story of a born womanizer. When he travels back to the east coast to “apologize” to the woman he jilted 30 years ago, he doesn’t anticipate the reaction he’ll receive from her or her sisters. Nash has a silver tongue and he uses it at every opportunity. A quick, funny read.
Amy Winters
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
I just have so many questions after I finished this book. I really enjoy her writing style but this story had too many loose ends and underdeveloped stories. What happened to all the sisters? The brother? Dina? I feel like it just disappointed.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-chick-lit
Nash Harvey/Harvey Nash is despicable and never gets what's coming to him, but everyone around him gets better when they get him out of their lives.
Melva Clark
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
The main character in the book is a cad. The story revolves around the women he encounters.
Barbara Hawley
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very droll humor and a funny twist that reminds me of Emma or Pride and Prejudice.
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5. Good writing. Good ending. Slow beginning.
Susan White-Riggs
Nov 07, 2017 rated it liked it
A quick, light read, I have read and enjoyed most of this author's books.
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
He’s a cad and a bounder. A rapscallion and a heel. But what an absolutely CHARMING book. I’ll be right back... I have to go get some more of Elinor Lipman’s genius literature.
Maggie Grace
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Delightful! The characters were wonderful and surprising. This is how a romantic comedy should be written!
Mar 02, 2017 added it
Three past-40 sisters (no, it is not Chekov) live together in Boston, not having a very good time, when woman-chasing jingle writer returns to try to make amends for his oh-so-bad deed of having abandoned Sister #1. Naturally, there are other women in the mix, also comically betrayed by this "ladies man." The joke of the man-child wears thin quickly, and while the author writes well, the sisters were too broadly drawn to be of much interest.
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Lipman is a very funny and capable writer so I feel bad giving this only 2 stars, but the plot does not gel, making even a short book seem long. Nash Harvey is a classic cad, incapable of telling the truth for even a second when faced with the prospect of seducing an attractive woman. Thirty years after ditching his fiance, Adele Dobbin, at a swanky engagement party in Boston, he reappears on the scene, claiming he wants to apologize. This isn't consistent with a character who is as much as a ra ...more
Jan 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
3.5* We've all known a person like Harvey/Nash, Ladies' Man, haven't we? Glib, attractive, manipulative, scheming, reinventing himself as needed, charming in a store-bought way, a user of other people, heaped with chutzpah, assuming he is always welcome and ignoring any signs to the contrary, full of excuses, and buoyantly guilt-free, like an adorable puppy that craps on your carpet, then races over--tail wagging--to lick your face. These folks outrage us while also befuddling us with their repe ...more
Nov 02, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What a horrible book. Forced myself to finish it. It probably deserves only one star, but I'm being kind today.

Basically this story focuses on incredibly unlikeable people with few redeeming qualities. All of the women are pushovers who cannot say no when forced into uncomfortable situations and then they are miserable over the poor choices they've made. Oh, but when it comes to being in an actual relationship, suddenly they have "pride" and end things over silly reasons. I guess we're supposed
Deon Stonehouse
The Ladies Man by Elinor Lipman is the story of Harvey Nash, a ne’er do well of the first order. Harvey has cut a wide swath through the hearts of the Dobbins sisters, he could pretty well persuade a woman to give up on men altogether. Thirty years ago he jilted Adele Dobbin, now he is back, ostensibly to apologize but Adele does not believe him for a New York minute (smart girl). Lois Dobbin erroneously believes Harvey took off because of his deep feeling for her, a misconception he does not di ...more
Grandma Weaver
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. The story is about three sisters living in Boston. The are all attractive single women and they share an apartment. There is also a brother, who is single and involved in their lives.Back in the late sixties the older sister
Jan 01, 2011 rated it really liked it

At first glance, this book seems a bit formulaic - long-lost love returns (to apologize?) and heroine must decide what to do! But Lipman does a wonderful job of keeping me guessing as the path of the novel strays here, there and everywhere except the path I expected. This was the usual fun Lipman book with intelligent people involved in relationships with eccentric parents, lovers, children, etc. In this case a divorced man who, for two delightful years had been the father of his wife's toddler,
Jan 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a great lover of Elinor Lipman's novels, I am devastated I have just one left unread. This one did not disappoint. I love that she comes up with these hilarious amusing off the wall scenarios, with quirky characters that manage to completely move you. I am constantly laughing and drawn in, all at once! Favorite moment of The Ladies Man, I can always tell when I laugh out loud, is when Nash leaves the apartment with the casserole and runs into Kathleen and begins to flirt! Loved it!
Angie Boyter
Apr 24, 2013 rated it liked it
My least favorite of the 4 Elinor Lipman books I've read so far. Practically all of the characters do things I just do not find very credible, including the ease with which they fall into bed with people during the book, although all of the women, at least, seem to imply this is not their normal modus operandi. Also, I do not find the way Nate moves in to spend the night very credible; this seems to be a Lipman trope, though, since she does it again the The View from Penthouse B, when a middle-a ...more
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Elinor Lipman is the author of 11 humorous novels about contemporary American society; essay and short story collections, and a book of rhyming political tweets.. Born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts, she graduated from Simmons College where she studied journalism. She lives in Manhattan, and received the New England Book award for fiction in 2001. Her first novel, "Then She Found Me," was ada ...more