Fashion Book: The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
There’s been a good amount of buzz about Adelle Waldman’s novel The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. Initially, I was very hesitant to read the book. What I knew about it was that it was about a young Brooklyn writer (Nathaniel Piven) who dates a lot of women while becoming more successful in the literary community. Even though it’s written by a woman, I wasn’t interested in reading about the exploits of just another sad young literary man–I think we all have enough of those, especially living in Brooklyn.
A friend of mine read it and told me it was fascinating and a quick read, so she lent it to me for our trip to Wyoming. I read it in two sittings–I started it on the plane there, and finished on the plane back. It turns out that all of the reasons I was dreading reading it actually proved to be really interesting and helped me enjoy the novel quite a bit more than I thought I would.
During a dinner party at an ex-girlfriend’s, Nathaniel meets and becomes interested in Hannah, a fellow writer. The two begin emailing and hanging out, and soon, are in a relationship. The book chronicles the ins and outs of their relationship from Nathaniel’s point of view, which, though told by a women, feels startlingly authentic. Though Nathaniel is a little bit of a narcissistic ass, his reasoning and logic are human and his feelings are valid–he really believes in the things he does. Waldman isn’t trying to make any grandiose statements about the world or love or art here–this is an immediate, microscoped look at a particular man in a particular place during a particular time. That’s part of its charm–reading it feels like drinking one of those fancy cocktails at one of those Brooklyn bars where all the staff is wearing suspenders–you feel a little pretentious, but the drink is good and you’re having fun. (This dating experiment by two NYC friends reminds me of the book–check it out if you’re in the mood to lose yourself for a while!)
For this fashion book, I created an outfit for Hannah that reflects a kind of Brooklyn literary aesthetic (aka, I would basically wear this in a hot second):