Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Ten Men

by Alexandra Gray

‘smart and stylish. . . . Remarkable in the vast sea of “chick lit” for its smarts, flair and honesty. . . . Gray has given us a thoughtful character who moves through the world with poise and grace–but not so much of either that we can’t relate to her. . . . A little too real-life to be a totally guilty, fantasy-filled summer pleasure–but isn’t a genuine one even better?” –Hillary Frey, Salon

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 272
  • Publication Date June 13, 2006
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-4252-8
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $12.00
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date May 01, 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-1-5558-4853-8
  • US List Price $12.00

About The Book

In the tradition of Jane Green and Allison Pearson comes Alexandra Gray, a debut novelist whose smart, gorgeous, thirty-something heroine is the perfect romantic ingenue discovering modern love–through ten unforgettable men.

In this witty and endearing novel about a woman’s mission to discover what will make her truly happy, we meet ten extraordinarily different men but none, it seems, that entirely fits our heroine’s needs. Among them are the Virgin, who has charm but can’t spell experience, the Lord, whose stiff upper lip makes for a stiff upper life, and the Billionaire, a walking bankroll with a bankrupt heart. So when the Actor has been dumped, the Lawyer’s BMW consolation prize sold, and the Schoolmaster left behind, there’s only so much she can give to the Lover, who’s out of her head when he’s out of her bed, Mr. Cerebral, a late-night brilliant idea always gone by morning, or the Director, who can’t say ‘cut’ to his own wife.

Ten Men is an intelligent, funny, and touching journey across several continents during which our savvy and worldly-wise protagonist realizes that not one of these men has made her feel complete. But first she coasts high on a life of travel, education, high-rolling adventure, and, of course, sexual (if not financial) independence. And only then, after her sizzling tour through nine men, does she comes to see that on this road to fulfillment the first person she must learn to satisfy is herself.

Tags Literary

Praise

“Smart and stylish. . . . Remarkable in the vast sea of “chick lit” for its smarts, flair and honesty. . . . Gray has given us a thoughtful character who moves through the world with poise and grace–but not so much of either that we can’t relate to her. . . . A little too real-life to be a totally guilty, fantasy-filled summer pleasure–but isn’t a genuine one even better?” –Hillary Frey, Salon

“Gray is a wry observer of love and of men . . . this book is astutely satisfying. . . . Her best insights have to do with the subtleties of class.” –Francesca Delbanco, Washington Post

“Reminiscent of Lucinda Rosenfeld’s What She Saw, Gray’s debut brings warm, bracing insight to the classic chic-lit story of a young woman in transition.” –Misha Stone, Booklist

“Funny and incisive, Ten Men captures the heartache and humor in choosing the wrong men. As our heroine travels the globe in her quest to find the right one, we root for her to discover what we already know–she’s smart, stylish, and one of a kind.” –Candace Bushnell

“A variety pack of adventures in singlehood, via a wry, thoughtful British narrator.” –New York Magazine

“A wicked whisper through the West End world of dating–billionaires, film directors, toffs and more–set to be this spring’s literary talking point. But wait, only 10?” –Tatler (UK)

“We all know true happiness lies within, but as Ten Men‘s heroine discovers, flings with actors, lawyers and even a billionaire make the search way more interesting. Add the complication of a mum who doesn’t believe in sex before marriage and you have a brilliant read.” –Cosmopolitan (UK)

“A first novel that reads like an autobiography . . . You’ll soon warm to a heroine who gets hurt but never bitter in her quest for The One.” –In Style (UK)

“A Sex and the City-type look at the ups and downs of dating–a quirky and humorous read.” –Grainne McCarry, Belfast Sunday Life (UK)

“A witty, sophisticated novel about the ups and all too many downs of modern dating. . . . Alexandra Gray’s portrayal of modern dating is wryly accurate. Her debut novel is endearing and humorous but her point is a serious one: don’t go looking for love until you know yourself.” –Gemma Barry, Waterstone’s Books Quarterly (UK)

“Alexandra Gray’s wickedly entertaining novel introduces a heroine for the noughties.” –Dean Powell, Western Mail Series (UK)

“You never know what to expect from a first novel; but this month’s choice from Alexandra Gray does not disappoint. . . . This is an intelligent book. . . . What lies behind that cover is a well-written and acutely observed novel; an intellectual woman’s read–and a diamond in the rough of mass-market tosh.” –David Bradley, City Sheffield (UK)

“If I were speaking to any of the men I’ve loved in the past, I would tell them to rush out immediately and buy Ten Men. It’s an amusing and bold debut and it made me feel inadequate as a writer more than once. It’s shockingly good.” –Suzanne Finnamore (author of The Zygote Chronicles and Otherwise Engaged)

Excerpt

It is one of the wonders of the twenty-first century that a beautiful, brilliant, and broad-shouldered man could reach almost forty without someone, somewhere convincing him it was time to drop his guard–God knows having sex is not difficult. It’s not meant to be. Celibacy leads to extinction. But if nature and nurture conspired to inhibit the sexual impulse, we would all be virgins, every one of us. Or so the Virgin said. And I believed him, not just to be gracious, but because I understood how it could happen.

My mother’s doctrine, inculcated in me as completely as her DNA, was that I should remain a virgin until the day I married. As an obedient daughter, I did my best to follow this command; hence an early engagement, a subsequent marriage, and (I don’t think it would be ruining the story to say) a hasty divorce. My husband was mine for only a year. Divorce, however, did not liberate me from my mother’s doctrinaire view.

In the face of contrary evidence, I took longer than a lab rat to grasp that whenever a man wanted sex with me, marriage wasn’t also on his mind. Today I understand what every woman eventually understands: There is sex without marriage, just as there is marriage without sex.

And so to the Virgin–my first–who completed the circle. I was back where I started, in bed with a beginner, except this time it wasn’t me. Here was a man who embodied the qualities my mother so cherished, a man with the character to wait, and go on waiting, for Miss Right to show up. By the time we met, Mr. Right Now was my philosophy, so when he looked at me I didn’t step back and wonder why, but stepped forward thinking optimistically why not?

The Virgin was glamorous in the way few objects or people are anymore, and his distinctive style was a reminder of a more gallant age. His Savile Row suit was
a classic, he wore a striped shirt open at the neck and his brown hair fell in a Brideshead flop–a seductive touch.

I certainly had questions about what made the Virgin’s patience possible. I just didn’t ask them before responding to his plea to “Please, please, please be my teacher.”
I should have noted at the time that he did not say, “Please, please, please be my wife,” which is why I assumed he’d waited.