Summary and book reviews of A Changed Man by Francine Prose

A Changed Man

by Francine Prose

A Changed Man by Francine Prose X
A Changed Man by Francine Prose
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2005, 421 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2006, 448 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Masterfully plotted, darkly comic, A Changed Man illuminates the everyday transactions in our lives, exposing what remains invisible in plain sight in our drug-addled and media-driven culture.

On an unseasonably warm spring afternoon, a young neo-Nazi named Vincent Nolan walks into the Manhattan office of World Brotherhood Watch, a human rights foundation headed by a charismatic Holocaust survivor, Meyer Maslow. Vincent announces that he wants to make a radical change in his life. But what is Maslow to make of this rough-looking stranger who claims to have read Maslow's books, who has Waffen-SS tattoos under his shirtsleeves, and who says that his mission is to save guys like him from becoming guys like him?

As he gradually turns into the sort of person who might actually be able to do that, Vincent also transforms those around him: Maslow, who fears that heroism has become a desk job; Bonnie Kalen, the foundation's fund-raiser, a divorced single mother and a devoted believer in Maslow's crusade against intolerance and injustice; and Bonnie's teenage son, Danny, whose take on the world around him is at once openhearted, sharp-eyed, and as fundamentally decent as his mother's.

Masterfully plotted, darkly comic, A Changed Man illuminates the everyday transactions in our lives, exposing what remains invisible in plain sight in our drug-addled and media-driven culture. Remarkable for the author's tender sympathy for her characters, A Changed Man poses the essential questions: What constitutes a life worth living? Is it possible to change? What does it mean to be a moral human being? The fearless intelligence, wit, and humanity that inform this novel make it Francine Prose's most accomplished yet.

Chapter One

Nolan pulls into the parking garage, braced for the Rican attendant with the cojones big enough to make a point of wondering what this rusted hunk of Chevy pickup junk is doing in Jag-u-ar City. But the ticket-spitting machine doesn't much care what Nolan's driving. It lifts its arm, like a benediction, like the hand of God dividing the Red Sea. Nolan passes a dozen empty spots and drives up to the top level, where he turns in beside a dusty van that hasn't been anywhere lately. He grabs his duffel bag, jumps out, inhales, filling his lungs with damp cement-y air. So far, so good, he likes the garage. He wishes he could stay here. He finds the stairwell where he would hide were he planning a mugging, corkscrews down five flights of stairs, and plunges into the honking inferno of midafternoon Times Square.

He's never seen it this bad. A giant mosh pit with cars. Just walking demands concentration, like driving in heavy traffic. He remembers the ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Introduction

One spring afternoon, a young neo-Nazi named Vincent Nolan walks into the Manhattan office of World Brotherhood Watch, a human rights foundation headed by a charismatic Holocaust survivor, Meyer Maslow. Vincent announces that he wants to make a radical change in his life. But what is Maslow to make of this rough looking stranger who claims to have read Maslow's books, who has Waffen SS tattoos under his shirtsleeves, and who says that his mission is to save guys like him from becoming guys like him?

As Vincent gradually turns into the sort of person who might actually be able to achieve his objective, he succeeds in transforming those around him: Maslow, who fears that heroism has become a desk job; Bonnie Kalen, ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

If you think you'd enjoy a 'comedy of manners' which fairly gently skewers the middle-classes then this might be one for you; but if you're anticipating a book that digs deep you might be disappointed.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review (338 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

Media Reviews

Harper's Bazaar
Francine Prose is back with a powerful new novel about the possibility of starting over.

Newsday
This book has it all great characters, dark humor, a racing plot and important themes.

Los Angeles Times Book Review - Richard Eder
A novel of ideas, and provocative ones. Class--the dirty American secret--is no secret to Prose.

Entertainment Weekly
[An] artfully structured novel . . . [with] a selection of showstopping literary set pieces.

Miami Herald
[A] brilliant new comic novel . . . Prose's sense of humor is as keen as ever.

Library Journal - Jim Coan
Bonnie is well portrayed and lifelike, but Vincent is not - he's more a construct than a character. As a result, the novel feels sidetracked, and though any new work by the award-winning Prose will attract readers, this one is frankly not all that interesting.

Kirkus Reviews
An edgy, riveting tale, one of Prose's most interesting.

From Booklist - Joanne Wilkinson
Starred review. Like novelist Richard Russo, Prose uses humor to light up key social issues, to skewer smugness, and to create characters whose flaws only add to their depth and richness. This may well be Prose's best novel to date.

Publishers Weekly
Starred review. Her lively skewering of a whole cross-section of society ensures that this tale hits comic high notes even as it probes serious issues.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Francine Prose is the author of about 20 books, including Blue Angel (2000) which was a finalist for the National Book Award; she is considered one of America's sharpest cultural satirists. She says "I really do love my characters...I don't find them guilty of anything that I'm not guilty of myself."

She says she was inspired to write A Changed Man after seeing two skinheads on the New York subway, all dressed up with jackboots and shaved heads, but looking terrified - it was clear to her that they were out of their element, which made her curious about what kind of people they were. Later she saw a middle-aged man with hair growing over his tattoos, one of which looked like a swastika and she thought 'this is...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Francine Prose

If you liked A Changed Man, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Memories of the Future
    Memories of the Future
    by Siri Hustvedt
    I've never kept a journal, but my mother has written in hers for years, the annual volumes she's ...
  • Book Jacket: Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
    Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
    by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
    Rajeev Balasubramanyam encapsulates the theme of Professor Chandra Follows his Bliss in its first ...
  • Book Jacket: The Workshop and the World
    The Workshop and the World
    by Robert P. Crease
    The longest glacier in France, the Mer de Glace, is losing roughly 12 feet of ice height each year. ...
  • Book Jacket: Instructions for a Funeral
    Instructions for a Funeral
    by David Means
    Following a venture into novels with Hystopia in 2016, Instructions for a Funeral is a return to ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Affairs of the Falcóns
    by Melissa Rivero

    A beautiful, urgent novel about the lengths one woman is willing to go to build a new life.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    When We Left Cuba
    by Chanel Cleeton

    An exhilarating historical novel from the author of Next Year in Havana, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Fly Girls
by Keith O'Brien

How five daring women defied all odds and made aviation history.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Book Club Giveaway!
Win Ecstasy

Win copies to share with friends or your book club!

Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, author, daughter, mother, wife, lover, and muse.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A B Penny A T U

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.