Carol's Reviews > Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie
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's review
Sep 16, 11

bookshelves: literary-fiction
Read in January, 2009

This books was romantic, witty, and charming, and I enjoyed every word. Lurie's novel is about Vinnie Miner, a 54 year old academic, and Fred Turner, Vinnie's much younger colleague. Both of them spend a semester in London doing research on their latest projects. Although only mildly acquainted, their paths cross several times in the city as they pursue their work and each fall into an unexpected affair. In some ways Vinnie's and Fred's affairs are parallel and in some ways they are the inverse of each other. Neither of them are particularly looking for love, and they both find it with people met in connection with their travels. However, Vinnie, who views herself as having more of an affinity for England than for her native US, falls in love with a quintessential American cowboy type visiting Britain. Fred, acutely aware of his status as a stranger, falls for an elegant, high-born British actress.
The characters are extremely well-written and the narrative moves along smoothly with the seamless interweaving of two plotlines that only briefly intersect. I especially identified with Vinnie in her combination of sharp intelligence and occasional lapses into bitter insecurity. Vinnie's and Fred's stories provide both passion and gentle commentary as well as wry and astute observations on social manners.
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