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Richard Stern: Other Men’s Daughters

“Until the day of Merriwether’s departure from the house—a month after his divorce—the Merriwether family looked like an ideally tranquil one” we read on the first page of Other Men’s Daughters.

It is the late 1960s, and the streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts, are full of long-haired hippies decked out in colorful garb, but Dr. Robert Merriwether, who teaches at Harvard and has been married for a good long time, hardly takes note. Learned, curious, thoughtful, and a creature of habit, Merriwether is anything but an impulsive man, and yet over the summer, while Sarah, his wife, is away on vacation, he meets a summer student, Cynthia Ryder, and before long the two have fallen into bed and in love. Richard Stern’s novel is an elegant and unnerving examination of just how cold and destructive a thing love, “the origin of so much story and disorder,” can be.

“As if Chekhov had written Lolita. . . . I would contend that in its own felicitous small-scale way, Other Men’s Daughters is to . . . the sixties what The Great Gatsby was to the twenties, The Grapes of Wrath to the thirties, and Rabbit Is Rich to the seventies: a microscope exactly focused on a definitive specimen of what was once the present American moment.” —Philip Roth, from the Introduction

Other Men’s Daughters
By Richard Stern
Introduction by Philip Roth
Afterword by Wendy Doniger
Category: Literary Fiction
Paperback $15.95
Publisher Penguin Random House
NYRB Classics
Aug 29, 2017
272 Pages
ISBN 9781681371511

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