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The Three Weissmanns of Westport Paperback – Large Print, Feb 1 2011

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Large Print Press; 1 edition (Feb. 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159413426X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594134265
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 13.3 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,191,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Like Jane Austen's original this sparkly, highly readable re-framing has interiors, wicked stepmothers, lashings of escapism and a heartfelt portrait of sisterhood, daughterhood and motherhood that will strike a chord with women everywhere. -- The Times A deliberate homage to Jane Austen succeeds in being intelligent and beguiling. Sunday Times And off races the sparkling, crisp, clever, deft, hilarious and deeply affecting new novel by Cathleen Schine, her best yet, The Three Weissmanns of Westport ... Schine's homage [to Jane Austen] has it all: stinging social satire, mordant wit, delicate charm, lilting language and cosseting materialistic detail New York Times Book Review Schine's real wit playfully probes the lies, self-deceptions, and honorable hearts of her characters. New Yorker Schine has been favored in so many ways by the muse of comedy ... The Three Weissmanns of Westport is full of invention, wit, and wisdom. New York Review of Books Swap genteel nineteenth-century England for upscale contemporary Connecticut, add two sisters-one impulsive, one practical-and stir with lively doses of romance, domestic discord, sudden setbacks, and sublime surprises, and you get Cathleen Schine's homage to Jane Austen. Elle No Cathleen Schine book is without wit and sharply observed moments. The Wall Street Journal Witty, lively, lovely Bookseller --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Cathleen Schine is the author of The Three Weissmanns of Westport, To the Birdhouse, The New Yorkers, and The Love Letter, among other novels. She has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, and The New York Times Book Review. She grew up in Westport, Connecticut, and lives in New York City and Venice, California. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Jill Meyer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on May 4 2010
Format: Hardcover
It must be a tricky thing for an author to do a take-off on another, much-beloved author's work. In this case, Cathleen Schine is trying to rewrite Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" in modern terms. As a Jane Austen fan, and a prolific reader of modern fiction writers, in my opinion, the only modern writer I'VE read who wrote comedy of manners with as much nuance as Austen is the late, great Laurie Colwin. Oh, and sometimes, Elinor Lipman achieves Austen-like writing.

But Cathleen Schine probably shouldn't have tried to echo Austen. Her book, "The Three Weissmans of Westport" is a good read. Not a great read, but a good read. The characters are interesting and the plot's fine, BUT Schine boxes herself into a corner by having to make the characters and plot echo - in loose terms - Austen's.
The minute a writer tries to take-off another writer she opens herself up to justifiable criticism.

The surprising thing about Schine's book was its front page review on the NYT's Sunday Book Section. Normally this spot is reserved for an "important" book. Something usually deadly dull, but "important" all the same. Schine's book does not deserve this spot and I think almost places her in a position where anything less than perfection is disappointing to the reader, who's expecting more from the book.

Anyway, the book's a good read. Almost better to wait for the trade-paper edition, though.
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By Louise Jolly TOP 100 REVIEWER on Feb. 26 2011
Format: Paperback
I was very disappointed in this book. I found the plot to be very predictable, the characters under-developed, the pacing was slow, and the dialogue mundane. I don't understand this constant comparison between Jane Austen and Cathleen Schine. Austen writes with such charm, appeal and an attractiveness. Her words flow along like a maple leaf rippling over the water on a stream.

I'm just left shaking my head, puffing out my lips that I'm finally finished and thinking it was even more difficult to read, in part, due to my yawning! Sorry, in good conscience, I just could not give this one a good review.
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Format: Paperback
Comparisons to Austen aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Found the characters compelling and memorable, and the humour delicious. It's the kind of book you gobble up and are sorry when there's no more left.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9e0a0a74) out of 5 stars 166 reviews
147 of 158 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fc2b6e0) out of 5 stars Starting Over Feb. 13 2010
By C. Hutton - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Catherine Schine has written a funny and on-target tale of three women starting over in their lives. Rarely in fiction is one of the heroines a 75 year old woman who is being dumped by her husband of five decades. The title refers to Mrs. Weissmann and her two daughters, forced to live together because of various dire financial circumstances. Ms. Schine examines the foibles of love and of relationships between men and women in middle age and the senior years (the 1987 movie "Moonstruck" comes to mind). It is refreshing to read of romance late in life, especially in a novel as well-written as this one.
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fc2b734) out of 5 stars A terrific read! Feb. 15 2010
By Book lover -Philadelphia - Published on
Format: Hardcover
What a terrific read! Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down until I finished. The author sets up her situation very quickly and draws readers in with fine characterizations, unpredictable plot turns and excellent insights. She also does a wonderful job with setting the scene - whether it is in New York City, a Westport beach cottage or Palm Springs. Her writing is subtle and accessible, without unnecessary flourishes or affectation.

All in all, whether you do or don't want to compare the book to Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" [as the very positive front-page review in The New York Times Book Review did], this is a book that you'll enjoy and tell your friends to read.
66 of 75 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fc2bb6c) out of 5 stars Nancy Meyer's Next Film Feb. 20 2010
By karen Levine - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The Three Weissmanns of Westport is a fun read. It is hardly updated Jane Austen. Like past reviewers, I was quite surprised to see it reviewed on the front page of the Book Review of the New York Times. It is contemporary, easy to relate to, especially if you live in Manhattan and are of a certain age. I must admit at times I felt it was just a step up from chick lit and just a fun escape book. Visually, I could see Nancy Meyer casting it, setting her usual beautiul scenery, decorating the Wesport homes, Manhattan apartment of Betty and Josie or even collaborating with Nora Ephron and writing a really witty script.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fc2bf38) out of 5 stars Utterly Charming on Its Own Merits; Delicious Austen Update Feb. 24 2010
By Diane B. Wilkes - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As a Janeite, I have noticed that there are two kinds of Austen fans--those who despise the spin-offs/sequels/as-inspired-bys and those who write them. Well, not quite. But I still feel like a bit of an oddity because I like some but find most really plebeian and some truly offensive.

What I love about THE THREE WEISSMANNS OF WESTPORT is that you can read and enjoy its wit, charm, and humor without making any Jane Austen parallels whatsoever--yet, if you're a JA fan, you note each one with admiration and a frisson of recognition.

The story isn't the oldest one in the world, but it is certainly a familiar one in 2010--a man trades in his wife of many years for one much younger, in part as an attempt to stave off mortality. When Joseph Weissman leaves Betty, his wife of almost 50 years, she goes through a panoply of responses to the loss. His step-daughters (whom he considers his daughters) are equally emotionally savaged, even though both are well into adulthood. When the three wounded Weissmanns move into a Westport "cottage" together, they do so primarily for financial reasons. Yet they discover that the move allows them to move forward into entirely different (and for the most part, more positive) lives.

I don't want to give too much of the plot away--or the parallels to SENSE AND SENSIBILITY that are perfectly modernized. The Marianne and Eleanor roles are inhabited by people we've known or observed in today's world, yet true to Austen's vision of the sense/sensibility sisters. Betty is cannier and more central to the novel than the original Mrs. Dashwood, though just as improvident financially. The narrator/author is a wise, observant and entertaining observer of a rather large bit of ivory. Of course no one can compare to Jane Austen--the thought of such a thing is too ludicrous to countenance. But this is a worthwhile novel for Austen fans and modern fiction fans alike.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e0ca130) out of 5 stars As addictive as fine wine or delicious chocolate, don't pick it up unless you're got the time to keep reading Feb. 26 2011
By Kcorn - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Once I began this one, I absolutely could not put it down. The author starts off with a bang as she reveals that Joseph is leaving his wife, Betty Weissman, after a long and seemingly happy marriage (from the wife's current perspective). Betty is 75 and so you can imagine her shock, especially since she is also left in dire financial straits.

I was intrigued and baffled about why anyone would decide to end a marriage so late in life. Yes, there is another woman (no spoilers here, that info comes early on), a woman who is scheming and completely opposite from her name (Felicity). Even so, seemed shocking that she could compete with Joseph's wife, a woman who comes across as zany, fun, and far more appealing than Felicity. From my viewpoint, this made Joseph come off as somewhat dense, with no insight into Felicity's clearly manipulative moves.

Anyway, after the marriage ends, Betty departs for Westport with her two daughters, having the good fortune to have a relative who provides her with a cottage. While the thought of a cottage at first seems romantic and attractive to Betty, the structure turns out to be in need of serious repair.

This one definitely came across as a comedy of manners, making it clear why it has been compared to the works of Jane Austen. However, it definitely has a modern spin. Each character is illuminated in detail and I found Betty's daughters to be as intriguing as Betty herself. One daughter, Miranda, is a literary agent who trusted her instincts when it came to choosing authors - but, as it turns out, many of those authors made up their memoirs. Miranda lands on Oprah to defend herself (I couldn't help thinking of the whole mess involving James Frey, his book (A Million Little Pieces) and how he also appeared on Oprah with Nan Talese, trying to defend his own fictionalized memoir. In Miranda's case, however, she has several writers who have made up their memoirs. She is being sued. Her accounts have been frozen. This makes it very "convenient" (also known as having few other choices) for her to move in with her mother. She is even happy about the whole thing.

But the other daughter, Annie, is far less open to the whole idea. She loves her mother, though, so she goes along with it. This is when things take a stronger Jane Austin turn. Sure, there have been similar updates on the whole Austin genre or style but this one stands out. Even when I thought things were going to take a predictable spin, I'd be surprised. Events truly ramp up as the book reaches its conclusion. This is not a simplistic book, although I found it moved along at a rapid pace, but with the details that kept it from being too bland. It is the kind of book that begs to be read with a box of chocolates or fine cup of coffee or tea nearby. A glass of wine and comfy shawl or blanket would be the ideal additions for settling down for a nice afternoon of reading. But be forewarned- you won't want to come up for air, make dinner, or do anything but keep reading. So order takeout or have another family member handle the chores for the day. This one is definitely worth the time!

And yes...I ordered more of this writers' books. Reading this was like discovering a new friend, one who opened new worlds for me.