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Extended Audio Sample Wise Men: A Novel Audiobook, by Stuart Nadler Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (542 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stuart Nadler Narrator: Bernard Setaro Clark Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2013 ISBN: 9781478978244
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Almost overnight, Arthur Wise has become one of the wealthiest and most powerful attorneys in America. His first big purchase is a simple beach house in a place called Bluepoint, a town on the far edge of the flexed arm of Cape Cod.

It’s in Bluepoint during the summer of 1952 that Arthur’s teenage son, Hilly, makes friends with Lem Dawson, a black man whose job it is to take care of the house but whose responsibilities quickly grow. When Hilly finds himself falling for Lem’s niece, Savannah, his affection for her collides with his father’s dark secrets. The results shatter his family—and hers.

Years later, haunted by his memories of that summer, Hilly sets out to find Savannah in an attempt to right the wrongs he helped set in motion. But can his guilt and his good intentions overcome the forces of history, family, and identity?

A beautifully told multigenerational story about love and regret, Wise Men confirms that Stuart Nadler is one of the most exciting young writers at work today.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An absorbing, well-crafted book, with all the storytelling virtues on display. It is atmospheric, thoughtful, and mature, with characters whose fate arouses genuine curiosity. It is fiction of great integrity and vast promise.”

    Hilary Mantel, Booker Prize-winning author

  • Wise Men is a brilliantly plotted and carefully observed novel that takes the reader deep inside a powerful family’s most guarded secrets...Wise Men confirms that Stuart Nadler is a writer of abundant talent and grace.”

    Amber Dermont, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Stuart Nadler is an elegant writer and a compelling storyteller. Wise Men explores the big questions in life—love and money and race and identity—in a story packed with secrets, longings, and obsessions. It is not a book to be missed.”

    Vanessa Diffenbaugh, New York Times  bestselling author

  • “While Stuart Nadler’s ambitious debut novel touches on money, class, race, and religion, first and foremost Wise Men is about youth, betrayal, and regret. In his idealism and denial, Hilly Wise, the poor little rich boy, is a truly American character and the perfect narrator for the tale.”

    Stewart O’Nan, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Rendered in the son’s words at different stages of his life, Wise Men artfully shows how the intricacies of human interactions play out over time.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • “Genuinely moving.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A sweeping epic of race and family in America…Nadler’s portrait of doomed romance, along with dissections of wealth and success worthy of John Cheever, make this a very exciting debut.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “This debut novel from the author of the well-received story collection The Book of Life has much to recommend it…The novel is perhaps most essentially a tragic love story, skillfully examining the complications of Hilton’s impossible relationship with Savannah, a poor, young, African American woman he meets at his family’s new beachfront property on Cape Cod. Hilton, the narrator of the novel, is exceptionally well drawn, and Nadler insightfully explores the dangerous power of class and privilege, which dooms this young love affair. Verdict: A novel of considerable power and pathos that lovers of literary fiction will want.”

    Library Journal

  • “This is a novel of character, persuasive in the telling, less so in retrospect but still impressive; Nadler is a born storyteller.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Wise Men reads like a classic; it is a completely engrossing novel, one that scars the reader’s heart in the most satisfying way. In confident, unpretentious prose, Nadler tackles the complexity of racial tension and fifties mores in a manner reminiscent of Harper Lee and Carson McCullers…Wise Men is, at its core, a brutal love story, full of surprise and conviction, insight and deception, staggering wealth and loss, truth and beauty.”

    Megan Mayhew Bergman, author of Birds of a Lesser Paradise

  • “Stuart Nadler’s first novel zooms and dips like an airplane with a trick pilot, one in complete control of his loop-de-loops. I have no doubt that Stuart Nadler is going to be one of our great novelists, and it all starts here, on a dune in Cape Cod, with the Wise men. These characters—knotted together with obligation, guilt, and love—will stay with me always.”

    Emma Straub, author of Other People We Married

  • “Hilly Wise is determined not to be anything like his father, Arthur, a renowned litigator whose legendary wealth Hilly despises. Narrator Bernard Clark characterizes both voices with so much contrast that there’s no doubt the two men are polar opposites. The sarcastic and pessimistic Hilly stands out perfectly against the exuberant and bombastic Arthur. The setting of the story ranges from the shores of Cape Cod, where Hilly fancies the niece of Lem Dawson, the black caretaker of the Wise property, to the fields of Iowa, where Hilly’s verboten love, Savannah, resides. Clark paints that forbidden romance with equal parts frustration and sarcasm. Nadler’s story of opportunities lost and found is well crafted, and Clark is a wonderful storyteller.”


  • Recipient of a Barnes & Noble Discover Award
  • An Amazon Top 100 Book of 2013
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, February 2013

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lorelei | 2/12/2014

    " I know this is not fair, but when I read a book that contains the story elements of racial prejudice, social injustice, and youthful misconceptions, I give it the "To Kill A Mockingbird" test. This book failed. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kate | 2/8/2014

    " I wanted to give it 3 stars because I was very surprised by the ending but in the end it was not a real page turner (even tho I hung in to the very end). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave S | 2/5/2014

    " Good, seems like it could have been great with a little better editing "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 2/4/2014

    " A fun diversion. Well written. I would definitely read anything by this author. Gotta give him some time, because he is quite young! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Vince | 2/2/2014

    " 2.5 stars. Nadler has assembled several elements of a good story in Wise Men but never seems to quite pull it together in a cohesive way. The characters are just shadows and never fully realized. The drama is not all that dramatic. Sorry, but at about the half-way point I was just reading so I could say I finished the book. I believe the author has potential so here's hoping that his next effort shows improvement. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn | 1/26/2014

    " unfortunately, for me this book did not live up to its enthusiastic reviews. i found the protagonist's naivete wholly unbelievable, even for a teenager in 1948. really, he didn't understand why a rich, jewish boy could get in trouble for dating a poor, black girl? annoyingly, his naivete continued unabated as he had a lifetime obsession with a girl he kissed once and barely knew. the big story, the conflict between father and son, was for me neither interesting nor complex. he disliked his father and resented him hugely, all the while sitting on a $70M trust fun. get over yourself, Hilly! spend some money in therapy! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lenore | 1/13/2014

    " Did not really care for the story or characters not much going for it. Unfortunate. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Priscilla | 1/13/2014

    " A multi-generational story about love and regret, the evolving struggle for racial dignity, and the crushing weight of familial obligation, and MONEY....story got bogged down in chapters....it was finishable, not memorable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Spencer Keasey | 1/9/2014

    " If only my tumultuous relationship with my father could be explained away by a last paragraph! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan Patrick | 1/6/2014

    " Wow! I don't know wgat to say about this book. It is beautifully written and the plot carefully crafted. You will never guess the ending! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bob | 12/26/2013

    " Enjoyable read that span a man's lifetime. That is, until the last page, where there's a reveal that is nonsensical and ultimately ruinous. A bitterly disappointing ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 12/10/2013

    " How is this book not a real story???? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ashley | 12/9/2013

    " I enjoyed this book for the most part. Spoiler alert: I wasn't shocked by the surprise at the end. I didn't appreciate that the reveal is just at the end and you really don't get any character response "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dawn | 12/9/2013

    " I would definitely recommend this book. Very well written. Great depiction of father- son relationship. Very interesting concept. Follows the son's story through his life. Loved the twist at the end--never saw that coming! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marcia | 10/21/2013

    " I was disappointed in this book. It didn't live up to the review. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sally Drake | 10/15/2013

    " First half was stronger than the second half, but very readable and very American story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maureen | 8/17/2013

    " While this book kept my interest, I could never really figure out the hold Savannah had on Hilly. I kept reading because someone said the ending packed a punch. It did. I never saw THAT coming. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dora | 7/9/2013

    " A good story, but disjointed . . . the ending was not that surprising. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Laura Lewakowski | 6/23/2013

    " I thought this book started out well enough, and then somewhere in the middle it just skipped about 30 years. I mean it actually just skips ahead 30 years! And then he has to "go back" and explain a bit. Eh. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Earl Bayer | 6/14/2013

    " I enjoyed this novel. The characters were interesting but I was disappointed at the conclusion. I did not see how the revelation at the end explained the most critical event that shaped all of their lives earlier. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 4/27/2013

    " Good book. Went on a little long but had a great ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dee Scocos | 2/26/2013

    " I did not know anything about this book so I had no expectations. Loved the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bill Rightnour | 2/16/2013

    " I feel the author created many dynamics that worked very well. The story kept you wanting and didn't let you down. I would recommend this novel. "

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About the Author

Stuart Nadler is a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Nadler was also the 2008/9 Carol Houck-Smith Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin. He is the author of Wise Men.

About the Narrator

Bernard Setaro Clark is an actor, writer, and narrator of audiobooks, whose titles include Rag & Bones, Childless, While We Run, Wise Men, and others. He lives in Atlanta.