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The Lovers

3.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,700 ratings  ·  341 reviews
From the acclaimed author of the 2007 New York Times Notable Book Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name comes a stunning novel about the love between husbands and wives, mothers and children.

Twenty-eight years ago, Peter and Yvonne honeymooned in the beautiful coastal village of Datça, Turkey. Now Yvonne is a widow, her twin children grown. Hoping to immerse herself in m
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 22nd 2010 by Ecco (first published 2010)
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Average rating 3.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,700 ratings  ·  341 reviews

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B the BookAddict
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: women-s-fiction

As none of my GR friends have read this novel, I have no idea how it ended up on my tbr list. I also have no idea what the point of the story was; there didn't seem to be any plot or direction. It was an ordinary, very ordinary read. 2★
Jul 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: pub-2010
Vendela Vida, also known as the wife of Dave Eggers, has written a book about Yvonne, the widow, who goes to Turkey to grieve and remember her late husband. Her destination is Datca, the place where decades before she spent her honeymoon. As Turkey is the ‘land where archaeologists came and were startled to find entire town as they once were’, she expects to find things exactly as she left them all those years ago, so she can re-enact the happy times of the early days of her marriage. Something, ...more
Betsy Robinson
Mar 04, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a slow, meandering, and emotionally disjointed story of a woman who has recently become a widow.

The meandering quality is because the descriptions and sequence of them felt like a travelogue; a woman travels from Burlington, Vermont, to Turkey, and within Turkey, to the place of her honeymoon, to Konya (Rumi’s hometown), and to other smaller towns. Toward the end (page 211 of 225 pages), we are reminded that she has taken this journey because she is trying to recapture something from de
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Lovers, at first glance, seems to be an unfortunate title for this story: a middle-aged widow, Yvonne, journeys back to a seaside village in Turkey where she and her husband had happily honeymooned decades before. She is there to spend some time alone before meeting up with her twin adult children – her troubled and addicted daughter Aurelia and her “perfect” son Matthew – for a cruise.

An aura of menace with wisps of sexual tension pervades most of the novel. The vacation home is spotless an
Elyse  Walters
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Interesting small book ---
Its really closer to a 3 star book ---(yet, I'm giving it 4 stars). I liked the 'intimacy' I felt while reading it. (I was swept right into this this story).

I could see a few things in the plot which are questionable ---however --I enjoyed the flow of writing --and who cares if I maybe the story could have taken a different direction. Truth was---I was pretty damn 'PRESENT' while reading every word of 'Vida's book!

This is my first book I've read by Vendela Vida (wife
Aug 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
I made a rookie error and poor, poor Vendela Vida's novel "The Lovers" is the innocent victim.

It all started when I feel madly in love with Jennifer Egan's book "A Visit from the Goon Squad." I lovingly caressed the cover, made kissy faces at it, considered starting from scratch and rereading it immediately. I tried to think of a better book in all the world over, and failed. I sighed a lot. The music of REO Speedwagon finally made sense to me.

What I should have done: Chased it with something co
Malena Watrous
Aug 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
I like Vendela Vida's writing a lot. It's pared down to the essentials, with a great forward momentum--even when the characters are privately mulling over the past, as Yvonne is in this book. I like how she captures the surrealism of ordinary details--white freckles on a man's arms, a hotel room in a cave, a woman who only arranges her face so that she looks beautiful when she knows she's being looked at. I agree with those who say that she writes in the vein of Paul Bowles--these travel novels ...more
Jun 28, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book, since I loved my time in Turkey. However, I found the events unrealistic and couldn't get past this. The ending was preposterous!
Jun 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Yvonne's life has taken unexpected turns over the years. Her husband has died in a horrific hit-and-run car accident; their children, twins Matt and Aurelia, are grown now, but Aurelia's teenage years and on were riddled with drug and alcohol abuse, filled with lies and deceptions and stints in rehab. Yvonne returns to Datca in Turkey where she and her husband had spent their honeymoon in hopes of returning to memories that don't involve death and dishonesty while at the same time desiring to fi ...more
Julie Christine
Ms. Vida presents us with another spare and reflective novel about a woman searching to redefine herself after the death of a loved one. Instead of the cold glow of the Arctic Circle that defined Let The Northern Lights Erase Your Name, Ms. Vida bathes the protagonist of The Lovers, Yvonne, in the cerulean blue of the Turkish Riviera.

Ms. Vida writes so deftly and with such elegance. You are given just the right depth of detail to create your own vision of setting and character and the just enou
Cathy Smith
Feb 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
A real page turner --but not in a good way.

First let me say that there was a lot that I liked about this book, especially at the beginning. I liked the premise: widowed Yvonne, a school teacher, goes to Turkey, which is where she and her husband had gone on their honeymoon, 20-something years earlier. I also was very fond of Yvonne; I found her interesting, sympathetic, with compelling personal problems to work on during this trip. And I really liked Vida's prose, which balances descriptive tra
The second title from Vendela Vida that I have read; the second winner. Like Let The Northern Lights Erase Your Name, the writing is simple yet illuminating, picturesque prose especially exemplified as her settings seem to be lesser popularized travel destinations.

Here she has her heroine, Yvonne, in Turkey, including Datca, Istanbul, Konya, Kronos; the most mesmerizing being those near the water as she spends time with Ahmet.

It is a story of self-discovery. A story about marriage, love, mothe
Bonnie Brody
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Vendela Vida's relatively short novel, The Lovers, packs a big wallop. It is a multi-layered story about Yvonne, a widow, who returns to Turkey where she and her husband once honeymooned. She believes that by returning to the same place where they had been together early in her marriage, she will feel closer to him. Her husband Peter was recently killed in a hit and run car accident in their hometown of Burlington, Vermont. Yvonne has rented a large home, sight unseen, for a couple of weeks unti ...more
Jun 29, 2010 rated it really liked it

As a huge fan of this author's last book: Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, I was very excited to read Vida's latest novel, The Lovers.

Like in her last novel, this story is about a woman on an emotional journey, traveling far from home to find herself and meaning in her life. Yvonne is a 53 year old woman, mother of adult twins: Matthew and Auerelia. She lost her husband Peter, two years earlier and is still numb from the loss. She is tired of having everyone still asking how she is doing
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Lovers, Vendela Vida
The Lovers is a novel set in Turkey, where a newly widowed woman returns to the place of her honeymoon, almost three decades before. She's trying to escape her life in Vermont, and her new status as the pitied single woman among couples. As the mother of grown twins, she is conflicted with her memories of her marriage and her relationship with her children. She's discovering that as more time passes since her husband's death, the more she is forced to re-evaluate their r
Rebekah O'Dell
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Vida’s novel opens with Yvonne, a middle-aged widow, lost and looking for her driver in a Turkish airport. Vacationing alone in an attempt to recapture the magic of her honeymoon in Turkey twenty-six years before, lost is how Yvonne spends most of the novel, metaphorically speaking.

While her husband was killed in a car accident years before, this is Yvonne’s first trip without him. Even though the reader hears stories about Yvonne’s life at home in Vermont, it feels to the reader as though thi
Oct 15, 2015 rated it liked it
In The Lovers, Yvonne, 53, travels from her home in Burlington, Vermont to the Turkish town of Datça where she spent her honeymoon with her husband Peter, killed two years earlier in a hit-and-run accident. She was hoping to come to terms with the truth of her marriage - especially to remember again the happiness that characterized it at the beginning, and to emerge from the catatonic state in which she has been since Peter’s death:

"…she had come to Datça to strip herself of these lies, to shed
Jul 14, 2010 rated it liked it
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

In the aftermath of her husband's death, grieving widow Yvonne travels to Turkey where she and her husband had honeymooned 28 years before. Her plan is to spend some time alone reflecting on her marriage and the loss of her husband and then meeting up with her adult twins for a cruise. Her plans become complicated when she quickly becomes entangled in the lives of several people. She uncovers secrets about the man she is renting a house
Jun 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
It's been over a month now since I've read this book and I am still thinking about the ending - in fact, about much of the book. It's not very long; I read it in one or two sittings straight on through.

Because I am enthralled with Turkey and love reading books set there (a reflection of my longing to revisit), I was immediately drawn to The Lovers by Vendela Vida. The premise of a woman going on vacation to a village by the sea and the title suggest that this story might romanticise travel (and
T. Greenwood
Jun 06, 2010 rated it liked it
I don't have a lot to say about this book. Regrettably, this character and her plight simply did not resonate with me. The premise seemed promising: a widow travels to Turkey after her husband's death to recapture the joy she experienced there on their honeymoon. (Vida did do a wonderful job in her depiction of this exotic setting.) Yvonne, the widow, also plans to join her son and troubled daughter for a cruise. In the meantime, she befriends a young Turkish boy and a number of other local char ...more
Apr 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vendela Vida returns to the theme of her last novel: a women, broken by some recent tragedy in her family, travels to a foreign country where she is truly alone in her grief. Vida's last book was a real heartbreaker, and this one is no less gut-wrenching. But her characters are so complex that even as their worlds spiral downwards, there's something you can hold onto and identify with within so much sadness.

The main character in the Lovers returns to the scene of her honeymoon years later, afte
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of New Yorker stories
Shelves: fiction
This book is so well written. I really enjoyed reading it. I was carried along by the story, wondering what would happen to this woman on her solo journey to a remote corner of Turkey. However, as it went along I wondered more and more where the story was going, what was the point? I finished the book and I still couldn't answer those questions.
As I said, the writing is so memorable and enjoyable, but the story was implausible at times and at those portions I lost interest in the main character.
Jan 05, 2012 rated it liked it
She writes with such truth that I can't help but nod along with the analogies and moments the book points out, about people and how they think and what we say and do, and how words can just be so inadequate. That's what I love about this book.

While this book takes place in the beautifully described Turkey, it's not about the setting at all, but entirely about Yvonne, the main character who has lost her husband in the previous months and is still dealing with the aftereffects. There is no shallow
Maria Ella
This month was dedicated to a marathon of #laslasreads - a book where a character dies, or where they cope with the loss. Or where you just lingered in a limbo and unsure where to go.

Of all the books that I've read, this book shined because it gave me a sense of closure. It has awarded me a piece of solace. This, no matter how simple it was written, or how short the development it, gave me an ending - exactly how I imagined it would end.

Some may consider this prose a comfort read, a novel that
Gretchen Rings
Jul 05, 2010 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book, which started off well, but eventually went off the rails. Yvonne is a widow who decides to take a return trip to Turkey--site of her honeymoon--to help ease the pain of the recent loss of her husband. She rents a large vacation home while there, a home belonging to a wealthy man who is married but keeps the home for his French mistress. What seems to be building as a story of intrigue (and maybe an act of passion to come) veers off into another story all together ...more
Apr 09, 2012 rated it liked it
The travelogue sections generally bored me, but there's a lot of life in this novel. I love how Vida -- to paraphrase something Faulkner once said -- sets her characters off and running and, instead of making them conform to her idea of what the story should be, just follows and records what they do. Or maybe it wasn't Faulkner who said that. Anyway, that's what this feels like. It's kind of weird and idiosyncratic in a way that echoes human experience.
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
The description isn't great but makes it sound like there is so much more to the book then there is. This woman stays in Turkey for like 6 days and magically makes these close friends really quickly, despite not knowing the language, and something happens which I kind of predicted. Not a fan of this author. Just seems like part of the story is missing. The writing is not for me.
Dec 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-this-year
Another gorgeous novel from Vendela Vida. A self discovery novel whose world pulls you in - a story of grief, loss, and hope - all depicted in an elegant style. Four and a half stars.
Simon Firth
Here's another title that suffers in comparison with Rachel Cusk's most recent trilogy, in this case with Cusk's Outline in particular. Vida here gives us a story of a 50-something American woman coming to terms with dual traumas in her life while on vacation in the Mediterranean. It's a heavily worn literary landscape (territory re-covered in a slightly more racy but no less conventional fashion a couple of years later in the book I read before this, Jennifer Egan's short story collection Emera ...more
May 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Having read and enjoyed 'The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty' I chose this from Vendela Vida's earlier work to read too. This doesn't have the same punchy style which moves the story on so quickly in the more recent novel, no doubt because it is exploring a theme - how we deal with the aftermath of death - that requires a more measured approach. Indeed the meandering style is successful in creating an air of mystery, but one which is never quite resolved: a hint of sexual tension, a friendship which i ...more
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Vendela Vida is the award-winning author of four books, including Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Nameand The Lovers, and a founding editor of The Believer magazine. She is also the co-editor of Always Apprentices, a collection of interviews with writers, and Confidence, or the Appearance of Confidence, a collection of interviews with musicians. As a fellow at the Sundance Labs, she developed L ...more

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“Even the air between them seemed to be dented, waiting to be straightened again.” 7 likes
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