So Real It Hurts
At first glance, Adelle Waldman's novel The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. seems as if it's going to tread over some very common meta-ground -- a novel about writers and writing -- but it's actually closer to a modern version of Pride and Prejudice . . . told from the male point-of-view, with a dash of the HBO comedy Girls, and I couldn't put it down . . . from the first pages, when Nate runs into a girl he dated briefly, until a prophylactic malfunction led to an awkward decision, where Nate "had done everything that could have been expected of him . . . even though he had less money than she did, he paid for the abortion," right through all the literary references -- including some authors I've heard of but never read . . . Lermontov, Italo Svevo, and Thomas Bernhard" and then Nate's painful narcissism, detachment, and superficiality with other girls; Adelle Waldman nails the male mind, and walks the tightrope between satire and empathy . . . good fun for boys and girls alike.