miami university


Men Beware Women


Gwen Thompson

2012. ISBN-13: 978-1-881163-51-0/ISBN-10: 1-881163-51-0

Men Beware Women

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Winner of the 2012 Miami University Press Novella Contest

Malcolm has read so many English novels that Oxford feels as familiar as it does foreign when he arrives from New York to study Shakespeare in the intervals between crew practice. But all it takes is one drama student for life to shake loose his grasp of literature. Emma isn't the prettiest girl he's ever slept with, or the most well-read, but her mind most matches his. When she lands a part in a play Off-Off-Broadway and decamps to New York leaving no forwarding address, the irony that in a book would be artistic rankles in real life. Cast adrift, Malcolm miscalculates and breaks two ribs rowing. His Shakespeare tutor warns him not to let love get in the way of literature—or at least not till they do the tragedies—but as soon as term ends, Malcolm hops a plane to New York. Will he be able to steer his own course to the middle way his tutor's always touting? Or do happy endings only exist in books?

Reviews & Such

Laura Vanderkam reviewed Men Beware Women in her newsletter Just a Minute in December 2013, concluding by noting that "Thompson sets a quick pace and pulls you along with prose that’s polished but never takes itself too seriously."

Colin W. Sargent, editor and publisher of Portland Monthly Magazine encouraged readers of the Winterguide 2013 to pick up a copy of Men Beware Women: “treat yourself to her literary romance, a story that jumps the pond between Oxford and Manhattan as Emma beguiles Malcolm." 

Susan Seligson praised Men Beware Women in the Winter-Spring 2013 issue of Bostonia magazine: “It’s a sweet world, populated by characters we’d like to sit with over a pint. And for its younger inhabitants, it is a universe of possibility.”

In her January 2013 review of Men Beware Women for Bulletin 225 of The Dorothy L. Sayers Society, Sarah Macintosh noted that "Thompson tells an enjoyable story, with flowing prose and an evocative turn of phrase."

The Midwest Book Review “highly recommended” Men Beware Women as a “strong pick for contemporary fiction collections” in its December 2012 Wisconsin Book Watch library newsletter and Internet Bookwatch online book review magazine.

“Gwen Thompson has written a witty and highly intelligent novella starring a winning and sympathetic hero. What a pleasure to read a book designed for lovers of literature and the stage.” —Christopher Castellani, author of All This Talk of Love and The Saint of Lost Things

Men Beware Women is a charming story of one young man’s wide-ranging education abroad.  It is also a wise, fast-paced novella that you will not be able to put down. When you do finish it, you’ll immediately be looking to pick up more work from the extremely talented Gwen Thompson.”

—Edward Schwarzschild, author of The Family Diamond and Responsible Men

“Gwen Thompson portrays Oxford dons, Upper East Side executives, and working-class English girls with the same breezy mastery, while reveling in the minutiae of Elizabethan drama, pub crawling, competitive rowing, and getting your heart broken. A thoroughly charming performance from a very talented young writer.” —Ralph Lombreglia, author of Men Under Water and Make Me Work

About the Author

Photo of Gwen Thompson

Gwen Thompson was the kid who always ran out of paper for writing assignments in elementary school, when she wasn’t getting busted by her teachers for reading too much. This prompted her to earn a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Boston University, winning the Florence Engel Randall Short Story Award and the Lawrence H. Blackmon Book Collecting Prize. She graduated from Bowdoin College, where she won the Nathaniel Hawthorne Short Story Prize, and spent her junior year at Oxford, learning to put milk in her tea, drink warm beer, and watch as much live Shakespeare as humanly possible. She lives in Brooklyn.