Monday, 13 May 2013

Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie


"However long the flight, Vinnie always tries to avoid striking up acquaintance with anyone, especially on transatlantic journeys. According to her calculations, there is far more chance of having to listen to some bore for seven-and-a-half hours than of  meeting someone interesting - and after all, whom even among her friends would she want to converse with for so long?"

From beginning to end, this novel was a delight. The character of Vinnie shares my love of literature and visiting England, along with a reluctance to mix different types of friends to avoid potential social upheaval. A 50 something, unmarried, children's literature professor from America, the novel follows her study sojourn in London, including an unanticipated and moving romantic entanglement. At the same time, and generally through alternate chapters, the focus is on Fred Turner, Vinnie's much younger colleague who has fled matrimonial drama in the states and embarks on a tumultuous affair with a beautiful, yet troubled, older actress.
While the subject matter might dissuade some readers who are reticent to delve into romance, there is a beautiful realism within the writing which speaks to a much broader appeal. Ultimately it is the transformative nature of an unlikely love affair that remains as a life lesson for the protagonists and for the reader.  5 out of 5 crazy games of charades aplenty.

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