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Frank Et Billy
Laurie Colwin
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Frank Et Billy

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  544 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
A modern, seductive romance told in eight witty and ironic stories that trace the course of a love affair between a somewhat sloppy woman and a more sophisticated, older man, both of whom are happily married.
146 pages
Published 2001 by le Grand livre du mois (first published March 12th 1986)
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Laurie Colwin should be exponentially more famous than she is.
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the third Colwin book I've read. I embarked on reading her books because I loved Happy All the Time. However, I am disappointed so far in her other books. I found this one to be very mediocre. There were a few problems with this book, I think. The main one is that there was something uneven about the arc of the story. Most of the stories were redundant descriptions of the affair between Frank and Billy, but then all of a sudden, the story shifted into the life and perspective of Billy. I ...more
Feb 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this. Short but so much crammed into it. The analysis of a love affair between 2 people who are each happily married to others. I thought the post-mortem approach was dead on.
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laurie Colwin writes so beautifully and portrays her characters in such sensitive yet humorous ways. Even though the main plotline of the book (an extramarital affair) is morally repugnant to me, plus way too Woody Allen, Colwin's writing and characters made me love this book. It's divided into different sections, told from differing points of view, including first person. I just keep thinking back on how beautifully it's told. What a terrific short book.
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One relationship told as a series of short stories. Some of the stories cover much of the same ground, but there are nuances with each. It's a good device about two interesting people.
Jul 10, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
something that's funny and satisfying about another marvelous thing is the way that it finally veers into billy's life after so many stories that retread the affair from francis' perspective, and you find she is of course nowhere near as flat-toned inside as she is outside, in a way that francis' narration (he knew, laurie colwin knew) could never bring out. that or, as she also believes, she is sort of transformed by the arrival of her baby, her tenderness now visible. i read the title story, t ...more
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of short stories about a star crossed love affair. Both are married, each have incongruent habits and personalities making a full time committed relationship impossible, however even with all these roadblocks they are deeply in love. The stories while simple explore deeper concepts of love and relationships.
Deirdre Keating
Jul 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the top of the list of books-to-not-read while your mother is dying.

I picked it up because I loved Colwin's prose, even though I didn't love Happy All the Time. Then I thought I would scream if I read about Billy yawning one more time. I put the book down but didn't put it away...

Today I had to run to an appointment, where I knew I'd be kept waiting and rushed to grab a book to take alone. I picked this up for the first time in a couple years. I ended up finishing it about an hour after my me
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I came across this book while dusting the shelves in the living room over the weekend and remembered how I bought it for the gorgeous cover--a detailed view of a bird's nest and laurel by Thomas Charles Bale. Eventually I read it (sometime in 1995, my year alone in my first house) and while I remember loving this book of connected short stories, what I most recall was adoring the first sentence of the first story: "My wife is precise, elegant, and well-dressed, but the sloppiness of my mistress ...more
Oct 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
Once I realized that my love of Laurie Colwin's work wasn't limited to one book, I decided to ration everything. Another Marvelous Thing was this year's dose and was lovely, short, but lovely. Whenever I read what someone has written about Colwin's writing, I always see "simple" and "elegant", and those are true, but when I think of Colwin, I think of her honesty. There's never a sense that it's a show. The characters might tend to live in a different world, or at least a different demographic, ...more
May 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I had known what this book was about, I wouldn't have read it. It was just described as "wonderful" to me so I read it. It's a collection of stories that follows the affair of Billy (short for Josephine) and Francis, two unlikely lovers who are both married to other people. See, if I had read that, I would have tossed the book away like it was on fire, but this is a heartfelt, compulsively readable book. The characters are intelligent and interesting and well-drawn. It's a quick read that end ...more
Jane Mclean
In clearing out my books for a yard sale, I ran across "Home Cooking" by Laurie Colwin. I was so upset at her sudden death in 1992 that I taped her obit inside the cover. I rounded up my small Colwin library and am rereading it. I think of her writing as wispy, as "those people who flew kites and didn't know what to make of their baby." I cribbed the description of my husband's arms from this book: "You have the wingspan of the California condor." I love the way this book is written--eight conne ...more
Old Old
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cheating, humorous
OK, read it. It's short, funny, lol, line or 2. The plot: Married people, Francis & Billy, older man (children grown) meets younger woman (hasn't had a child yet) & they fall in love - no, they fall into sex, not quite the same. They withhold from each other, they stick with their marriages, as written Frank wants more & more intimacy, Billy only under duress shares who she is. I will read another book by Laurie Colwin.
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because I had read two others by author, who seems to specialize in writing lovely books about the drama of happily married couples. I was not disappointed, although in this case, the two happily married people are not in love only with their spouses, but also with each other.

Colwin is really terrific at creating the drama that is so intense in ordinary lives, even when no outwardly dramatic things are taking place.
I love Laurie Colwin's writing. But this one, whilst having all the trademark wit and elegance, somehow lacked the spark of 'Happy All the Time' or the stories in 'The Lone Pilgrim'. Too many stories rehashing the same material, and two central characters that I couldn't quite warm to. I still enjoyed it and still plan to read all her books, but I suspect 'Another Marvelous Thing' won't be among my favourites.
Charles Bechtel
I once had a writing advisor pronounce that if you write about boring characters, you'll write a boring book. About sums up this treadmill of a narration. I believed these characters would, if real, have torn each other to bits, as does the couple in 'Who's. Afraid of Virginia Woolf.' Not a Colwin fan.
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
What a beautifully written book!! so glad that Selected Shorts introduced me to this author.

I was put off at first by the female protagonist, but the writer did an excellent job with this complex character.
Dec 27, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what a quick read! It was pretty good throughout the entire book until the last few chapters. It seemed that the author went in to a totally different direction and it just didn't feel right. I love a book that catches you off guard at the end, but this just seemed sloppy.
Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Laurie Colwin book I hadn't read! This was a series of short stories (all originally written and published separately) about a couple of people in a love affair. I didn't love it as much as The Lone Pilgrim, as her short story collections go, but still, it's Laurie Colwin.
Jan 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
She could have cut out four stories from the middle and it would have made for a fine novella. Some information too redundant. However, she did have lots of good metaphors for relationships, the insularity of affairs, and how falling in love is never about what we "should" do.
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a collection of short stories, all telling the same tale... but not in the same way. this alone fascinated me and laurie colwin succeeds, making each story rich and fresh.
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves
She is so good.
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A quick and interesting read. The honest and raw complexity of love affairs captured beautifully in this novella. Characters, plot, and nuances of the story are hauntingly realistic.
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written!
the jacket is misleading. it's actually quite unsentimental, refreshing, and realistic. about the complicated, fleeting nature of love.
beautifully written — delightfully spare, unexpectedly deep.
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Great characters, lovely writing, but a difficult topic/story.
Maureen Flatley
Jan 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another gem from the late, great Laurie Colwin.
margie and kath
i love laurie colwins writing style. her character development and story lines draw you into another world. i recently started to reread some of my novels and i had forgotten how much i liked her.
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Laurie Colwin is the author of five novels: Happy All the Time, Family Happiness, Goodbye Without Leaving, Shine On, Bright and Dangerous Object, and A Big Storm Knocked It Over; three collections of short stories: Passion and Affect, Another Marvelous Thing, and The Lone Pilgrim; and two collections of essays: Home Cooking and More Home Cooking. She died in 1992.
More about Laurie Colwin...
“Their first actual kiss was a one-celled organism which, after they had been standing on the stairway kissing for some time, evolved into something rather grander--a bird of paradise, for example.” 1 likes
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