Meet Thomas Chippering.
"In summary, then, my circumstances were
these. Something over forty-nine years of
divorced. Pursued. Prone to late-night
weeping. Betrayed not once but threefold: by
the girl of my dreams, by her Pilate of a brother, and by a Tampa
real-estate tycoon whose name I have vowed never again to
utter.... I must in good conscience point out that women
find me attractive beyond words."
Not exactly a typical Tim O'Brien protagonist.
Nor is TOMCAT IN LOVE a typical Tim O'Brien novel.
For one, this is not a book about Vietnam. For another,
it is hilariously funny.
Thomas H. Chippering is a professor of linguistics, a war hero and
a sex magnet (at least in his own mind). His wife ---
and childhood sweetheart --- has recently left him for the Tampa
real estate tycoon, and he has vowed to get revenge.
Chippering takes his revenge to extravagant and hilarious lengths,
beginning with hiding a purple leather bra and panties under the
seat of the tycoon's car. His efforts escalate from
there with wildly funny results.
As he tries to wreak havoc in his ex-wife's life, he begins to
destroy his own. His self-proclaimed irresistibility to
women gets him in trouble with his students --- one of whom
blackmails him into writing her thesis --- and the administration
of his school, in hot water with his girl friend, and, for a while,
in the care of a psychiatrist.
All he really wants is for a woman to listen to him, but he's so
busy running after the wrong women that he fails to recognize the
real thing when he finds it.
Tim O'Brien has shifted his focus from the war in Vietnam to the
war between the sexes, and the transition is astonishingly
successful. The story of TOMCAT IN LOVE is simple ---
love is hard to find, but harder still when you are desperately
looking for it. The novel is hilarious, romantic, deeply
moving, and well worth reading.
Tomcat in Love