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The Love Affairs Of Nathaniel P.

by Daniel Scheffler
Contributor
Tuesday May 6, 2014
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It isn’t what you’d call pleasant, or lovely, or nice but it feels like a reality that whatever age, or other place holder of yourself you’d like to offer up, you could potentially relate to. It’s Adelle Waldman’s "The love affairs of Nathaniel P" and it’s both smooth and rough across the tongue and most definitely the thighs.

Emily Nussbaum from the New Yorker (TV critic) and the everywhere Lena Dunham both praised the book, and somehow even Alain de Botton and the New Republic have given their stamp of approval. The novel starts off with an uncomfortable situation of having seen someone and the desire to pretend that you didn’t see this person and kicks this high pace into a first gear of sorts. Our man, Nate, is sort of a not-so-nice guy but as we reach the end of the first page we can’t help but like him - even perhaps fall for him. He’s that man-child, not quite sexy but oh so sexual beast that tinkers with something primal inside you that makes him like a delicious hard candy that you want to spit out after a minute or two, but somehow don’t.

You’ve certainly heard this whole saga before but what Waldman does so perfectly is show you how a man, a real man, evolves in a "sort of" relationship with another and with himself. And what transpires is how our guy Nate gets bored with what he deemed at some point to be the perfect woman, if that concept could even exist.

Nate represents something of our time; an Adam of "Girls" meets President Obama

Women are often portrayed as this specific character in books - the ever pensive over thinker of the relationship that constantly pokes holes in the situation and blames someone in earshot as she watches the pulp drain out. But men, and this goes for straight and gay and everything else, can (and will forever more) experience something similar and thankfully Waldman goes all the way with this. Perhaps they might not write about it in their diary, or their blog but they might or they possibly could do their own supposedly masculine version of this lament. Whatever gets said in the steam room stays in the steam room.

Nate represents something of our time; an Adam of "Girls" meets President Obama. Strong and weak, tall yet sometimes so terribly small is who we have gotten to know as the modern man. He’s dealing with the same things men have always dealt with (call them sex, love and women) but he’s no longer expected to be hyper masculine like in the 80s or a waif like in the 90s. He is now allowed to be anything he wants to be, and that (cornucopia of choice) is what allows him to bike into his anxiety and over the bridge of his psychological mishmash. But where does he end up, besides for somewhere new?

"The love affairs of Nathaniel P"
Adelle Waldman
$15.00
Picador

Based between New York and Cape Town, Daniel Scheffler writes about socio political and travel matters and is working on a memoir. Follow him on Twitter @danielscheffler.

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