Cover image for The three Weissmanns of Westport
Title:
The three Weissmanns of Westport
Author:
Schine, Cathleen.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, [2010]

©2010
Physical Description:
292 pages ; 24 cm
Summary:
Betty Weissman loses her elegant New York apartment when her husband of nearly fifty years divorces her for what he says are irreconcilable differences, but is inactuality another woman. She and her two grown daughters who quite unexpectedly find themselves the middle-aged products of a broken home and whose own lives are in varying states of disrepair and confusion regroup in a small, run-down Westport, Connecticut, beach cottage. As they wrestle with economic hard times, love starts to blossom for both sisters, and they find themselves struggling with the dueling demands of reason and romance.
General Note:
"Sarah Crichton Books."
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780374299040
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Jane Austen's beloved Sense and Sensibility has moved to Westport, Connecticut, in this enchanting modern-day homage to the classic novel

When Joseph Weissmann divorced his wife, he was seventy eight years old and she was seventy-five . . . He said the words "Irreconcilable differences," and saw real confusion in his wife's eyes.

"Irreconcilable differences?" she said. "Of course there are irreconcilable differences. What on earth does that have to do with divorce?"

Thus begins The Three Weissmanns of Westport , a sparkling contemporary adaptation of Sense and Sensibility from the always winning Cathleen Schine, who has already been crowned "a modern-day Jewish Jane Austen" by People 's Leah Rozen.

In Schine's story, sisters Miranda, an impulsive but successful literary agent, and Annie, a pragmatic library director, quite unexpectedly find themselves the middle-aged products of a broken home. Dumped by her husband of nearly fifty years and then exiled from their elegant New York apartment by his mistress, Betty is forced to move to a small, run-down Westport, Connecticut, beach cottage. Joining her are Miranda and Annie, who dutifully comes along to keep an eye on her capricious motherand sister. As the sisters mingle with the suburban aristocracy, love starts to blossom for both of them, and they find themselves struggling with the dueling demands of reason and romance.


Author Notes

Author Cathleen Schine was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1953. She received a BA from Barnard College in 1976. She is both a novelist and a freelance writer. Two of her novels, The Love Letters and Rameau's Niece, were made into movies. She has also written for The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books and Family Circle. She currently lives in New York City.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

It may be hard to envision a novel of manners set in our ill-mannered times, but accomplished author Schine has captured the essence of Sense and Sensibility and dropped it into today's Manhattan and Westport. The Weissmanns, elderly mother and two mature daughters driven to penury by divorce and career reversals, must rely on the beneficence of Cousin Lou for the shabby roof over their heads. Annie, still modestly employed as a librarian, has both salary and an apartment to sublet, so it falls to her to provide the income for the three. Alas, the other two spend money as if it were still the old days. Mother Betty affects widowhood as it is easier than the pending divorce. Sister Miranda finds inappropriate love. The wide-ranging cast of characters fools, scoundrels, poseurs, the good-hearted, and secret heroes provides interesting interplay.Wild coincidences abound, so that Manhattan, Westport, and Palm Springs are but mere extensions of the classic drawing room. There is sadness but also love in this thoroughly enjoyable, finely crafted modern novel.--Hoover, Danise Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

A geriatric stepfather falls in love with a scheming woman half his age in Schine's Sense and Sensibility-flecked and compulsively readable follow-up to The New Yorkers. Betty Weissman is 75 when Joseph, her husband of nearly 50 years, announces he's divorcing her. Soon, Betty moves out of their grand Central Park West apartment and Joseph's conniving girlfriend, Felicity, moves in. Betty lands in a rundown Westport, Conn., beach cottage, but things quickly get more complicated when Betty's daughters run into their own problems. Literary agent Miranda is sued into bankruptcy after it's revealed that some of her authors made up their lurid memoirs, and Annie, drowning in debt, can no longer afford her apartment. Once they relocate to Westport, both girls fall in love-Annie rather awkwardly with the brother of her stepfather's paramour, and Miranda with a younger actor who has a young son. An Austen-esque mischief hovers over these romantic relationships as the three women figure out how to survive and thrive. It's a smart crowd pleaser with lovably flawed leads and the best tearjerker finale you're likely to read this year. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Drawing on Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, Schine (The New Yorkers) has written a witty update in which a late-life divorce exiles Betty Weissmann and her adult daughters, Annie and Miranda, from a luxurious life in New York to a shabby beach cottage in Westport, CT. Annie is the serious daughter and Miranda the drama queen. Both women find unexpected love, while Betty, a sweet, frivolous spendthrift, struggles with her newly impoverished state. What comfort the Weissmanns enjoy is owing to the generosity of Cousin Lou, a Holocaust survivor and real-estate mogul, whose goal in life is to rescue everyone, whether or not rescue is needed. While beautifully preserving the essence of the plot, Schine skillfully manages to parallel the original novel in clever 21st-century ways-the trip to London becomes a holiday in Palm Springs; the scoundrel Willoughby becomes a wannabe actor. Verdict Austen lovers and those who enjoyed updates like Paula Marantz Cohen's Jane Austen in Boca and Jane Austen in Scarsdale should appreciate this novel. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/09.]-Andrea Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

     When Joseph Weissmann divorced his wife, he was seventy-eight years old and she was seventy-five. He announced his decision in the kitchen of their apartment on the tenth floor of a large, graceful Central Park West building built at the turn of the last century, the original white tiles of the kitchen still gleaming on the walls around them. Joseph, known as Joe to his colleagues at work but always called Joseph by his wife, said the words "irreconcilable differences," and saw real confusion in his wife's eyes.      Irreconcilable differences? she said. Of course there are irreconcilable differences. What on earth does that have to do with divorce?      In Joe's case it had very little to do with divorce. In Joe's case, as is so often the case, the reason for the divorce was a woman. But a woman was not, unsurprisingly, the reason he gave his wife.      Irreconcilable differences?      Betty was surprised. They had been married for forty-eight years. She was used to Joseph, and she was sure Joseph was used to her. But he would not be dissuaded. Their history was history to him.      Joseph had once been a handsome man. Even now, he was straight, unstooped; his bald head was somehow distinguished rather than lacking, as if men, important men, aspired to a smooth shining pate. His nose was narrow and protruded importantly. His eyes were also narrow and, as he aged, increasingly protected by folds of skin, as if they were secrets.Women liked him. Betty had certainly liked him, once. He was quiet and unobtrusive, requiring only a large breakfast before he went to work, a large glass of Scotch when he arrived home, and a small, light dinner at 7:30 sharp.      Over the years, Betty began to forget that she liked Joseph. The large breakfast seemed grotesque, the drink obsessive, the light supper an affectation. This happened in their third decade together and lasted until their fourth. Then, Betty noticed, Joseph's routines somehow began to take on a comforting rhythm, like the heartbeat of a mother to a newborn baby. Betty was once again content, in love, even. They traveled to Tuscany and stood in the Chianti hills watching the swallows and the swift clouds of slate-gray rain approaching. They took a boat through the fjords of Norway and another through the Galápagos Islands. They took a train through India from one palace to the next, imagining the vanished Raj and eating fragrant delicate curries. They did all these things together. And then, all these things stopped.      "Irreconcilable differences," Joe said.      "Oh, Joseph. What does that have to do with divorce?"      "I want to be generous," Joe said.      Generous? she thought. It was as if she were the maid and she was being fired. Would he offer her two months' salary?      "You cannot be generous with what is mine," she said.      And the divorce, like horses in a muddy race, their sides frothing, was off and running. Excerpted from The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.