Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs

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This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel follows two American academics in London--a young man and a middle-aged woman--as they each fall into unexpected romances.

In her early fifties, Vinnie Miner is the sort of woman no one ever notices, despite her career as an Ivy League professor. She doubts she could get a man's attention if she waved a brightly colored object in front of him. And though she loves her work, her specialty--children's folk rhymes--earns little respect from her fellow scholars. Then, alone on a flight to London for a research trip, she sits next to a man she would never have viewed as a potential romantic partner. In a Western-cut suit and a rawhide tie, he is a sanitary engineer from Tulsa, Oklahoma, on a group tour. He's the very opposite of her type, but before Vinnie knows it, she's spending more and more time with him.

Also in London is Vinnie's colleague, a young, handsome English professor whose marriage and self-esteem are both on the rocks. But Fred Turner is also about to find consolation--in the arms of the most beautiful actress in England. Stylish and highborn, she introduces Fred to a glamorous, yet eccentric, London scene that he never expected to encounter.

The course of these two relationships makes up the story of Foreign Affairs --a finalist for the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award as well as a Pulitzer Prize winner, and an entertaining, poignant tale from the author of The War Between the Tates and The Last Resort , "one of this country's most able and witty novelists" ( The New York Times ).
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Alison Lurie including rare images from the author's personal collection.
Publisher: New York : Random House
Copyright Date: ©1984
ISBN: 9781480422490
Characteristics: text file, rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

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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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