Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs

A Novel

eBook - 2013
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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and a finalist for the National Book Award: Alison Lurie's supremely entertaining masterwork about two American scholars, both alone in London, who find romance in the most unlikely places. Prim, divorced, and middle-aged, Vinnie Miner gave up on love long ago. On her way to London to research a book about children's folk rhymes ;a scholarly pursuit that even her fellow academics sneer at—she finds herself sitting next to the man who will change the course of her life. Brash and na\u00efve, he is a sanitary engineer from Oklahoma on a package vacation. Also in London is Vinnie's colleague, the young, handsome English professor Fred Turner. His marriage and self-esteem are both on the rocks, but he is about to find consolation in the arms of the most beautiful actress in England.
Publisher: New York : Open Road Media, 2013
ISBN: 9781480422490
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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Jul 13, 2018

Two modern romances featuring American academics in 1980s-era London are told in alternating chapters. The better story features middle-aged professor Vinnie, who has given up on love, but unexpectedly develops feelings for Chuck, a seemingly unsuitable mid-western American tourist who turns out to be searching for deeper connections. This is an old-school romance in which each partner brings out the best characteristics of the other. The book begins and ends with Vinnie and her companion Fido, but both have been reshaped by their time in London. In Vinnie's case she is now a person who has cautious hope of love as a future promise rather than dead history.

I was less moved by the second story, featuring young academic Fred and older actress (and member of British nobility) Lady Rosemary. This plays out like an episode of Downton Abbey, and the comedic look at the English upper class is a bit too cliche (the same is true of Vinnie's encounters with her peers in academia and publishing). A plot twist was rather easy to see coming. And unlike Vinnie, Fred returns to America as essentially the same person he was when he left.

I finished Foreign Affairs rather wishing that the novel had focused on the other half of each romantic pairing; both Chuck and Rosemary are more interesting and complex characters than Vinnie and (especially) Fred.

Aug 15, 2016

I found this book a bit on the dry side, but loved what she said about the invisibility and neutered quality that society places on older women. It definitely picked up as I read on, and became quite comical too. Glad I read it!


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