The Family Man

The Family Man

Book - 2009
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Elinor Lipman's trenchant and witty novel about a father and daughter reunited.


A hysterical phone call from his ex-wife and a familiar face in a photograph upend Henry Archer's life. Henry is a lawyer, an old-fashioned man, gay, successful, and lonely. Thalia, his stepdaughter from a misbegotten marriage, is now twenty-nine, an actress, hopeful and estranged from her newly widowed crackpot mother. Hoping it will lead to better things for her career, Thalia poses as the girlfriend of a former sitcom star and current horror-movie luminary who is down on his romantic luck. When Thalia and her complicated social life move into the basement of Henry's Upper West Side townhouse, she finds a champion in her long-lost father, and he finds new life--and maybe even new love--in the commotion.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.
ISBN: 9780618644667
Branch Call Number: FIC Lipma
Characteristics: 305 pages


From the critics

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Nov 04, 2018

Tried to like it. The beginning was promising but then it got absurd - a rich stepfather inviting basically a stranger, his long-time-lost step daughter to live with him in his mansion, represent her as a lawyer and virtually cover her living expenses. Oh no, I’m not buying it.

Jan 12, 2016

Quirky but completely endearing characters. A great weekend or vacation read. Cheers!

Jul 19, 2015

I found Elinor Lipman's The Family Man biting and witty. Where did she come up with these absurd scenarios and colorful characters?

Jul 07, 2015

A wonderful weekend read. Light but not fluffy. Endearing characters.

DebbyReese Jun 09, 2012

Lipman has a wonderful way of developing her characters - she has a great balance of humor and sensitivity in her writing.

Aug 20, 2011

An exploration of modern families, careers, dating, legal agreements and life in New York city, this novel has an odd plot, but that's part of its charm. With multiple marriages, discoveries of sexual orientation, and disagreements with blood relatives involved, sometimes family really is something you choose.

Dec 05, 2009

The Family Man is Henry Archer, a gay retired lawyer who is reconnected with a much beloved ex-adopted daughter. Characters were completely lovable and the dialogue believable. Lipman has great wit and this book was a perfect beach read.

May 10, 2009

Calling something a guilty pleasure suggests that while that thing is amusing or satisfying in a fleeting fashion, it is also superficial, not particularly well executed or not of lasting value. I've read all of Elinor Lipman's books - of which her latest, "The Family Man", is one of my favourites - and I realize that I need not think of them as guilty pleasures. The Jane Austen comparisons may be a tad overstated, but Lipman lovingly and elegantly crafts charming characters, foibles and all, along with engaging storylines and refreshing dialogue well within the realm of believability. Rueful Henry Archer and how he goes about forging a new extended family from fragments of his past, present and future are a delight to follow. Elinor Lipman's work is a pleasure ... no guilt necessary!


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Aug 21, 2011

Men don't follow up. You could tattoo your number on the palm of their hand and they still wouldn't call.

Aug 21, 2011

Don't get too attached! It's a recipe for heartbreak. You get attached to the person your kid's dating, and then they break up and you suffer more than they do.

Aug 21, 2011

It must be over. I was banished from her Facebook page.

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