Here I am with another book review! Why is it posted here and not at the other blog that I made that I said that I would blog on a regular basis? Because it costs money, and Blogger is free. So, you guys will just have to bear with me on this. :)
Anyways, this book was recommended to me from amazon.com, so I went ahead and bought it
, titled Foreign Affairs
, by Allison Lurie
. It won the Pulitzer Prize back in 1984, so that was an added incentive to read it. I'm usually wary of books that win prizes (even prestigous ones) that have various notable people bragging what a tour de force that particular book is. I want to judge for myself, and weirdly, even if the book has garnered awards, sometimes, I just can't get into the story. But for Foreign Affairs
, I really did enjoy it. I was so happy to finally get a book I could really enjoy reading, I read it slowly, to make it last a little longer.
FA is the story of Vinnie Miner, a fiftysomething unmarried tenured professor who travels to London to do research for her new book. Lurie gently immerses you into Vinnie's life and her point of view. There is a secondary plot involving one of Vinnie's colleague, Fred Turner. Both go to London to do research and both find "love" (not w/ each other) quite unexpectedly, but it's how they themselves--their personalities with its set of assumptions and foibles--influence the affair that is superbly described. Some of the book reviews mention Lurie is similar to Austen in her eye for detail, social situations and human nature. I would agree with this very strongly.
Here's an excerpt:
...whereas his [Fred's] work on John Gay in the British Museum (now referred to by Roo [Fred's wife he is separated from at the moment] as the BM or Bowel Movement) is going very badly...He also likes to spread out at work, and to move around; at hom his notes covered two tables and a bed in the spare room, and books lay open on the carpet. In the BM his tall, muscular frame is cramped into a chair at a narrow section of desk between two other scholars or lunatics and their encroaching heaps of volumes, in an ill-ventilated hall full of identical radiating seats constructed on the same plan as the model prisons designed by Victorian moral philosophers.
The ending was a little unexpected (to me), but how each character is changed (or not) by the person they were involved with and what they take with them makes you really think.
This is the perfect book to read whilst traveling, or maybe snuggled up in bed with a cup of tea next to you. It's definitely a keeper, and I heartily recommend to everyone.