The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P

A Novel

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:

The national bestseller, named a best book of the year by The New Yorker , NPR , Slate , The Economist , The New Republic , Bookforum , Baltimore City Paper , The Daily Beast , National Journal , San Francisco Chronicle , Chicago Reader, Cosmopolitan , Elle , Buzzfeed and many others. A New York Times Editors' Choice and a Washington Post Notable book.

"Adelle Waldman's debut novel, The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. , scrutinizes Nate and the subculture that he thrives in with a patient, anthropological detachment. Ms. Waldman has sorted and cross-categorized the inhabitants of Nate's world with a witty, often breathtaking precision..." --Maria Russo, The New York Times

"Adelle Waldman just may be this generation's Jane Austen" -- The Boston Globe

A debut novel by a brilliant young woman about the romantic life of a brilliant young man.

Writer Nate Piven's star is rising. After several lean and striving years, he has his pick of both magazine assignments and women: Juliet, the hotshot business reporter; Elisa, his gorgeous ex-girlfriend, now friend; and Hannah, "almost universally regarded as nice and smart, or smart and nice," who holds her own in conversation with his friends. When one relationship grows more serious, Nate is forced to consider what it is he really wants.

In Nate's 21st-century literary world, wit and conversation are not at all dead. Is romance? Novelist Adelle Waldman plunges into the psyche of a flawed, sometimes infuriating modern man--one who thinks of himself as beyond superficial judgment, yet constantly struggles with his own status anxiety, who is drawn to women, yet has a habit of letting them down in ways that may just make him an emblem of our times. With tough-minded intelligence and wry good humor The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. is an absorbing tale of one young man's search for happiness--and an inside look at how he really thinks about women, sex and love.

Publisher: New York :, Henry Holt and Company,, 2013
Edition: First Edition
ISBN: 9780805097450
Branch Call Number: FIC WAL
Characteristics: 242 pages ; 22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 04, 2016

It's possible this book is extremely offensive, an example of arrogant misandry and elitism. It's also possible that it's satire, a comment on the publishing industry and the lives of the literati. Make what you will of it--it'll either be clever or cringe worthy.

Sep 16, 2015

A very realistic portrayal of relationships - both current and past. The behaviours and character interactions can feel a bit close to home if you have recently been in a crumbling relationship. The way Waldman writes feels so real. I enjoyed this book thoroughly, although cringed at times.

athompson10 Aug 03, 2015

Nate is one of the most unpleasant main characters I've ever encountered. My problem with the book is not merely the unsympathetic protagonist but the fact that nothing happens. Nate has boring conversations, Nate treats girlfriends and exes badly, Nate obsesses about himself and his petty little life. Snore.

May 30, 2015

This was some white privilege hipster nonsense. Like other reviewers, I couldn't even be bothered to finish it. But I'll give the author one a born and bred Williamsburg, Brooklynite - I can attest that the G train does suck.

manoush Oct 26, 2014

This highly readable, slim novel excels at charting the romantic relationships among Brooklyn's hip literati. The protagonist Nate is very well-drawn; he's a walking paragon of modern male privilege (of the intellectual stripe). The very first scene establishes him as a successful writer and a thoughtless human being, someone who basically instrumentalizes women and gets away with it every time. Like Junot Diaz's "This is How You Lose Her," Waldman's novel cleverly portrays how the age-old sturdy construct of male privilege works in our times. It's much more concealed, subtle, and hypocritical than perhaps it was in decades past, but it's no less damaging on the women who become its victims. The character of Hannah here is central, and one of the best-drawn characters in the novel. Waldman traces how this confident, talented woman is gradually felled by her relationship with Nate. It's an excruciating but all-too-real spectacle to watch how such a secure woman is slowly and methodically decentered by her association with Nate.The ever-shifting micro-dynamics of their relationship are charted so uncannily by Waldman that you can't hep but feel like an intruder in their domestic space, watching in embarrassment and sadness as they bring out the worst in each other. To her credit, Waldman doesn't settle for portraying Nate as a one-dimensional, self-absorbed, mean bastard. There's a beautiful description of him working through the night and into the early morning in his cramped, beloved studio that will resonate with any creative person who's experienced those moments of utter absorption and satisfaction.

lbarkema Jun 19, 2014

Maybe it was because I had heard some not-so-good things from others about this book and therefore was expecting the worst, but I ended up enjoying it. This biggest beef people had with this was their major dislike for the character. Although I certainly didn't love Nate, I did think he was just human and a male and that his actions and thoughts were completely realistic. I thought Waldman's writing was great and engaging despite there not being a full plot-it was a fast read.

Jun 04, 2014

Something compelled me to finish this book, but I am not sure what. I was getting so tired of the physical descriptions of each woman that Nate encountered and the running Woody Allen dialogue in his head. The writing itself was good, not so much the topic; although to be fair, it may be for generational reasons that I could not relate to these characters! Seemed more like a situational study than a story to me.

May 05, 2014

A wonderfully written book about dating, love affairs of twenty / thirty somethings in Brooklyn from the perspective of a self-absorbed budding writer.

Apr 23, 2014

A beautifully done, very nuanced character study that reminded me of French literature, like Flaubert. At the same time, it's a fresh and original take on romantic relationships which, despite the modern setting, haven't really changed much over the years. This book is perfect for a discussion group.

mdemanatee Oct 19, 2013

First of all, let’s acknowledge that the cover is gorgeous. It’s unique and compelling and calls to potential readers in a way that can be rare in the adult market when compared to YA. Some designer out there should be patting themselves on the back for this one.

In an interview I listened to, the author described this book as her response to the lack of ways contemporary fiction has addressed the modern dating scene. Okay, I’m willing to go with that (although we’re presumably talking about fiction that does not fall into the often maligned “chick lit” genre). I never saw the payoff of this within the novel itself. Our protagonist Nathaniel refuses to have a smart phone. There isn’t much talk of texting at all. The idea of gender dynamics are not explored in a way that feels extremely fresh.

I did not expect to necessarily like the protagonist of this book. I found myself kind of hating him. He’s a kind of “can’t grow up” pretentious jerk that justifies it all by his supposed intelligence. He lacks an incredible amount of self-awareness. Relationships with women aside, at one point he mentions that he is a good friend, when one of the major scenes earlier demonstrative of his friendship capabilities involved promising to save a seat for a friend at a reading and then not even trying. All other interactions with his “friends” seem to be some bizarre competition. While he calls out girls on being status seeking or social climbers he remains woefully unaware of the fact that he does the same when the importance of his friends opinions become a one-upmanship and after he gets bored, he zones in on any flaw in women (physical or personality). He’s smug in his intelligence, justifying his ability to write pieces in literary magazines and commentate on social problems while being seemingly isolated from the world.

I guess my main issue with hating Nate so much was that it didn’t allow me to challenge anything. Any ideas or conceptions were overshadowed by the idea that he was a huge jerk. I mean seriously, how does Aurit put up with his stupidity that long-term, even as a friend? Although she sums it up pretty perfectly when she tells Nate to “not be an unreliable narrator.” Because he is. Even Humbert manages to be disturbingly charming when recounting his pedophilia and this guy can’t even properly justify his behavior to me, even as he attempts to justify it to himself. His supposed guilt does not make anything better. At the same time I hated him, I recognized at least an honesty in many of the criticisms his conscious voiced that many wouldn’t admit to.

I can’t say this novel really bolsters my confidence level in entering the adult dating scene and finding a decent guy out there. For a book that clocks in at only 240 pages, I had to fight my way through it more than I anticipated.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at VIRL

To Top