Other Men's Daughters

Richard Stern (Author) Wendy Doniger (Afterword by)
& 1 more
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"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.

Product Details

New York Review of Books
Publish Date
August 29, 2017
5.2 X 0.6 X 8.0 inches | 0.6 pounds
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About the Author

Richard Stern (1928-2013) was the author of more than twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, and was best known for Other Men's Daughters. His other works include the novels Stitch and Natural Shocks; the short-story collections Packages, Noble Rot, and Almonds to Zhoof; a collection of essays, The Books in Fred Hampton's Apartment; and a memoir, A Sistermony. He taught literature and creative writing at the University of Chicago from 1955 until he retired in 2001.

Philip Roth is the author of thirty-one books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning American Pastoral.

Wendy Doniger is Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago and the author of The Hindus: An Alternative History, On Hinduism, and, most recently, the
volume on Hinduism in The Norton Anthology of World Religions.


"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

"A novel so good it would have been one of the most valid contenders for the Great American Novel of the decade. It may have achieved in a sane, civilized, academic and romantic way what its showier contemporaries miss by a mile."
--Ann Rosenberg, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"It is a pleasure to find a novel written with such intelligence and feeling, a novel that judges none of its people but holds them up to calm and affectionate scrutiny. Other Men's Daughters . . . is 'relevant'--but its real subject is in the disruptions and exaltation of the human heart."
--Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World

"Richard Stern's style is the mark of an exceptional and delicate attention. Other Men's Daughters is...an impressive pleas for the private life as a continuing subject for serious fiction...there is urgency and power in Stern's treatment of his profound theme: the necessary end of particular seasons in our lives, the pain and confusion and exhilaration of leaving safe old places when they have become truly uninhabitable." --Michael Wood, The New York Review of Books

"This is the best novel about divorce and the anguish of a lost family that I have ever read." --Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of History of Religions, at the University of Chicago

"A flower-fresh, moon-bright novel...the author being one of those who can convey all of Eros in a snip of dialogue, a few sentences." --Cosmopolitan

"No novelist could improve upon Richard Stern's inventory of what Merriwether has to lose...an attractive book and occasionally and extraordinarily touching one." --Time

"I think Other Men's Daughters is an important book, one of the few that will be read later. It is brilliantly written, a true novel of manners, sharply observant of surfaces, and, finally, profound." --Herbert Wilner

"Stern's accomplishment (here, as in all his work) is to locate precisely the comedy and the pains of a particularly contemporary phenomenon without exaggeration, animus, or operatic ideology.... In all, it is as if Chekhov had written Lolita.... I would hold that in its own felicitous 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 eighties: a microscope exactly focused upon a thinly sliced specimen of what was once the present moment." --Philip Roth

"The novel's world rings true...we respond to the honesty of Stern's vision." --Chicago Daily News

"For years I have admired the elegant fiction of Richard Stern for its impeccable language, its gracious erudition, and, above all, it's brilliant wit. In Other Men's Daughters, to me his most moving novel, these qualities serve the cause of mercy." --Thomas Berger