From the winner of the National Book Award -- a wildly funny, brilliantly inventive novel about a man torn between two obsessions: the desperate need to win back his former wife and a craving to test his erotic charms on every woman he meets. 'Tim O'Brien is the best American writer of his generation.' San Francisco Examiner Acclaimed for his ...
From the winner of the National Book Award -- a wildly funny, brilliantly inventive novel about a man torn between two obsessions: the desperate need to win back his former wife and a craving to test his erotic charms on every woman he meets. 'Tim O'Brien is the best American writer of his generation.' San Francisco Examiner Acclaimed for his award-winning fiction about the Vietnam War, Tim O'Brien now enters the territory of John Irving and Joseph Heller to take on the war between the sexes -- and creates a masterpiece of black comedy. A wickedly accurate portrait of obsessive love that manages to be both fiercely comic and profoundly moving, Tomcat in Love introduces a blundering, modern-day Don Juan who captures the desires and bewilderment of men everywhere -- Thomas Chippering, a pompous linguistics professor and incorrigible flirt, whose wife has left him for a suntanned tycoon. Determined to win her back, or at least wreck her new relationship, he heads for Florida -- and a hurricane of trouble.
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This is my least favorite of O'Brien's novels, by a pretty big margin. It resembles Nabokov's Lolita in ways but suffers hugely by the comparison. The main character is not very interesting, his compulsions becomes boring and repetitious (unlike Humbert Humbert's in Lolita), and the novel lacks variety in action and characterization. If you haven't read O'Brien's In the Lake of the Woods, do so. It is Much better than Tomcat. Tomcat in Love is an offense to Cat Lovers everywhere!
May 21, 2008
Love that Tomcat
What a fun book to read. Tom is a frustrating type a guy, whose lying mind is slowly exposed throughout his narrative. For women, it's an excellent guide to how a man's mind (might) works. Tim O'Brien is one of the best writers we have.
Publishers Weekly, 1998-07-13 All of O'Brien's previous six novels, except perhaps The Nuclear Age, have a Vietnam War experience at their core. Men (and women) at warĉand warring with war's aftermathĉare themes that have sustained O'Brien's gifted narrative rushes and his beautiful prose, garnering him high praise, including a National Book Award (for Going After Cacciato). After the mixed reception of In the Lake of the Woods, O'Brien said he would stop writing fiction for a while. His return here will be welcomed by his many fans, but he is not in top form. The "Tomcat" of the title is one Thomas Chippering, a 6'6'' professor of linguistics whose wife has left him for "a tycoon in Tampa." Chippering narrates his woes, his scheme for revenge, the background to what he insists is his deep love for the departed Lorna Sue, all the while pursuing nubile coeds and the wife of a convicted tax felon. Although the book is being positioned as a comedy, Chippering is a most obnoxious companion, so terribly self-deluded, self-absorbed and self-satisfied, so pedantic and boorish, so convinced of his own charms that the unfolding drama of his pursuit of revenge becomes discomfiting. We want to root for his ex-wife, but through the Chippering "song of myself" we don't hear her, or know her. The Vietnam experience here, what there is of it, is ludicrously, and even disrespectfully, invoked by Chippering, who will remind those who attempt to resist his advances that he is a war hero. Although O'Brien is on interesting ground laying out Chippering's childhood crush on Lorna Sue in 1950s Minnesota, the book careens toward an unconvincing portrait of madness that is irritatingly flippant and shrill. BOMC and QPB alternates. Agent, Lynn Nesbit; editor, John Sterling. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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