About Schmidt

Ballantine Books




National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

Ballantine Reader's Circle Selection

Selected Reviews

New York Times Book Review "An Ordinary Bigot" by Phyllis Rose, September 22, 1996 (Reprinted with permission on the linked page)


New York Review of Books Review by Thomas R. Edwards, October 31, 1996

The Los Angeles Times "A Well-Behaved Bigot" by Thomas Hines, September 15, 1996  

Book Jacket Synopsis

Proud, traditional, and impeccably organized, Albert Schmidt is a buttoned-down lawyer of the old school. But now, after years of careful management, his life is slowly unraveling. His beloved wife has recently died. He stumbled--or is he being pushed?--into early retirement. And his daughter, his only child, is planning to marry a man Schmidt cannot approve of, for reasons he can scarcely admit, even to himself. As Schmidt gropes for resolutions, he finds unexpected hope in an intense passion that comes out of the blue.

Set in the Hamptons and Manhattan, infused with black humor and startling eroticism, About Schmidt is both a meditation on loneliness and on the power of romance to unlock the most impenetrable recesses of the heart.


A film starring Jack Nicholson and directed by Alexander Payne, based on the novel About Schmidt, was released by New Line Cinema in 2002.

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Cover art property of Ballantine Books--Do Not Reproduce

Copyright 2003, Louis Begley

Art work by Peter Begley--Do Not Reproduce