The Old Romantic

The Old Romantic

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Additional Formats
  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781101502020
  • 352 Pages
  • Riverhead Books
  • Adult


A long-estranged family discovers that blood is thicker than water in this hilarious and moving domestic comedy.

It’s been a couple of decades since Nick cast off his impossible, contentious, embarrassingly working-class parents: gruff, stingy, explosive Ken and June, who seemed to revert to a primal state of nature after a divorce that both of them managed to blame on Nick. Enjoying the life of the country gentleman that he’s made for himself with impeccably turned-out Astrid and her teenage daughter, Laura, Nick has kept only the slenderest family connection to his brother, Dave, who’s stuck with the role of ambassador in a family that’s long settled into cold war.

But then Ken decides that the year of his death has arrived, and thus kicks off an ill-conceived quest to reunite his family before he meets his fate. Bringing to this tinderbox just the spark it needs, Louise Dean sends up the whole clan, each of them fatally flawed yet saved by hidden grace, and illuminates with her incomparable acuity their clashes of generation, gender, class, and temperament, in a riotous and compassionate conflagration.


“A highly entertaining, vivid evocation of love and marriage… Dean’s characters have the rough edges and surprising grace of real people, and her fierce humanism animates every page.” –The New York Times Book Review

“Remarkably astute… Dean has perfect pitch [and] she sneaks in just enough grace to give her characters a chance to prove Thomas Wolfe wrong: As long as you don’t expect anyone to get out the good china, you can go home again.” –The Washington Post

“Glorious hell breaks loose in the devilish, dauntingly talented hands of this award-winning writer.” –Elle 

“Razor-sharp.” –Entertainment Weekly

“Brilliant… [Dean’s] insights are dazzling… Characters rake themselves through self-revelations, and the prose leaps with a fervor for the present moment.” –Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Vividly imagined and surprisingly funny… Call it sentimental if you like, but it’s also sweet and genuine and universally true.” –Associated Press