Dating: a novel

Dating by Dave Williamson

Dating: a novel

Jenkins never dreamed he’d live long enough to be dating again. But the tables have turned and the parents are now the children. This outrageously funny portrayal of the realities of growing old in the modern world will have readers chuckling about their own not too distant futures.


Two years after his wife's death, he's testing the waters and realizing he's still no wiser than a schoolboy. When Jenkins hears his recently widowed high-school sweetheart is in town, he sees a chance to rekindle an old flame. But when her son greets him at the door with a list of rules, the evening already seems to be going up in smoke. Hilarious, touching, and a little saucy, Dating proves that life is full of surprises no matter how old you are.

Short-listed for the 2013 McNally Robinson Book of the Year

Short-listed for the 2013 Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award

Advanced Praise

Dating is a widower’s story, an account of life in the backwash of death, and a document of changing times. It offers the reader an acute blend of comedy and social history. Dave Williamson has created a generous and sharply observed study of how sexual desire in youth and age have more in common than might ever be guessed.

David Helwig

I’ve been reading Dave Williamson’s fiction for twenty years, and this novel is his best yet. It’s fast, youthful, clever, sexy, and hysterically funny—and with a steady stream, at just the right spots, of surprising moves, twists, and turns that only an expert writer with an expert writer’s eye and ear and sense of timing can make. The dialogue is unbeatable, the characters and situations are totally believable, the book is as clear and readable and, yes, funny, and at just the right moments, poignant, as any I’ve read in many years.

Stephen Dixon, author of Story of a Story and Other Stories: a Novel


Dating is packed with local flavour, from the 1950 flood and cottage life at Victoria Beach to a University of Manitoba "grads' farewell" at the Marlborough Hotel.

Alison Mayes, Winnipeg Free Press

Do you remember what it was like when you were first dating? Chances are you (like me) were in your teens—unsure, hesitant and excited all at the same time. Well imagine going through that decades later. The emotions might be the same, but the physicality of the situation will have no doubt changed, over time.

Sandra Thacker, CBC Manitoba Scene

Dating is inventive and holds surprises—right to the very last page. With its references to the Chocolate Shop, the Highwayman restaurant, the Ivanhoe and other local institutions, Dating will have a special attractiveness for older, nostalgic Winnipeg readers.

Winnipeg Free Press

A comic look at a generation grappling with aging bodies and young hearts.

Tara Seel, The Central Plains Herald-Leader

Smart, funny, and at times poignant, Dating is part love story, part social history, part coming-of-age novel....clever, touching, and always hilarious. Jenkins's voice stayed with me long after I'd finished.

Tara Gilroy, Prism Magazine

In Dating, Dave Williamson often sketches a world that elicits the smile or even the giggle of recognition.

Literary Review of Canada

This novel is an enjoyable romp through later middle age -- it's about time this stage of life was explored -- and the pursuit of happiness.

John Herbert Cunningham, Prairie Fire Review of Books Vol. 12 No. 4

Astutely crafted and amusing.

Gene Walz, Winnipeg Free Press

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