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Virginia Miner, a fifty-something, unmarried tenured professor, is in London to work on her new book about children’s folk rhymes. Despite carrying a U.S. passport, Vinnie feels essentially English and rather looks down on her fellow Americans. But in spite of that, she is drawn into a mortifying and oddly satisfying affair with an Oklahoman tourist who dresses more BroncoVirginia Miner, a fifty-something, unmarried tenured professor, is in London to work on her new book about children’s folk rhymes. Despite carrying a U.S. passport, Vinnie feels essentially English and rather looks down on her fellow Americans. But in spite of that, she is drawn into a mortifying and oddly satisfying affair with an Oklahoman tourist who dresses more Bronco Billy than Beau Brummel.Also in London is Vinnie’s colleague Fred Turner, a handsome, flat broke, newly separated, and thoroughly miserable young man trying to focus on his own research. Instead, he is distracted by a beautiful and unpredictable English actress and the world she belongs to. Both American, both abroad, and both achingly lonely, Vinnie and Fred play out their confused alienation and dizzying romantic liaisons in Alison Lurie’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Smartly written, poignant, and witty, Foreign Affairs remains an enduring comic masterpiece. “A splendid comedy, very bright, brilliantly written in a confident and original manner. The best book by one of our finest writers.” –Elizabeth Hardwick“There is no American writer I have read with more constant pleasure and sympathy. . . . Foreign Affairs earns the same shelf as Henry James and Edith Wharton.”–John Fowles“If you manage to read only a few good novels a year, make this one of them.”–USA Today“An ingenious, touching book.”–Newsweek“A flawless jewel.”–Philadelphia Inquirer...

Title : Cuori in trasferta
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9788807013188
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Cuori in trasferta Reviews

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2019-04-23 01:36

    ”In this culture, where energy and egotism are rewarded in the young and good-looking, plain aging women are supposed to be self-effacing, uncomplaining--to take up as little space and breathe as little air as possible.”Cupid as Link Boy by Joshua ReynoldsVinnie Miner is 54 years old. She has never been what has been deemed attractive. She went through all the obligatory attempts to improve her appearance as she marched through her twenties, thirties, and forties. None of them worked. ”Indeed it would be kinder to draw a veil over some of Vinnie’s later attempts at stylishness: her bony forty-year-old legs in an orange leather miniskirt; her narrow mouse’s face peering from behind teased hair and an oversized pair of mirrored aviator sunglasses.” When she reached her fifties, almost with a sense of relief, she discovered that she had aged better than expected. She certainly didn’t suffer from the tragedy of a faded beauty. She decided that if she couldn’t be attractive at least she could look the part of a lady. She is an anglophile and has more than a little desire to seduce an Englishman, really any one of them would do, but a literary genius is preferred. She has received a grant for six months to go to London and research children’s rhymes for her next book. A dream come true.On the plane she finds herself sitting next to this large, florid faced man in a western cut suit. He is from Tulsa. He was in sanitation work (there is always good money doing what other people don’t want to do). He is chatty. A nightmare! Here she is trying to be as English as possible and here is this American buffoon reminding her every time he opens his mouth that she isn’t in England yet. In an act of pure desperation she throws a copy of Little Lord Fauntleroy to him. Shockingly, he settles into his seat and calmy reads the whole book leaving her in peace to read the third part of the trilogy by J. G. Farrell. She isn’t done with Chuck Mumpson, not by a long shot. Like a lost puppy he just keeps turning up on her doorstep. Meanwhile her colleague Fred Turner is in London as well to research the poems of John Gay. It isn’t going so well for him because he has hooked up with an actress named Lady Rosemary. Even when he isn’t with her he is thinking about her. Her lavish lifestyle is pressing well past what a young professor can afford. Fred and Vinnie mostly want to avoid each other. ”Fred Turner knows, of course, that he is a handsome, athletic-looking young man, the type that directors employ to battle carnivorous vegetables. It would be going too far to say that he has never derived any satisfaction from this face, but he has often wished that his appearance was less striking. He has the features, and the physique, of an Edwardian hero: classically sculpted, over-finished, liked the men in Charles Dana Gibson’s drawings. If he had lived before World War II, he might have been more grateful for his looks; but since then it has not been fashionable for Anglo-Saxon men to be handsome in this style unless they are homosexual.” A Charles Dana Gibson male.Now despite her unfortunate lack of charming features Vinnie has racked up a list of lovers over the years. She even got married once for a short period of time. ”In her youth Vinnie made the painful error of allowing herself to care seriously for some of these people. Against her better judgement, she even married one of them who was on the tearful rebound from a particularly aggravating beauty and, like a waterlogged tennis ball, had rolled into the nearest hole.”Yes...ouch...yes, I know you laughed... nervously. I winced and laughed. Vinnie has this self-deprecating manner that is brutal. She even has an invisible dog she has named Fido who shows up when her self-pity becomes all consuming. ”She saw her first erect penis; in spite of all she now knew, her first thought was that it looked infected: sore, red, puffy. Though she has tried to suppress them, these ideas are never far from Vinnie’s consciousness. She has never got used to the way sex looks.”Now Vinnie distrusts sexual desire especially when it is expressed towards her. Although with this vision of a penis in her mind I’m amazed she doesn’t have a cleaver ready to hand whenever one raises it’s ugly head in her direction. She is shocked and surprised when the docile, clumsy puppy from Tulsa decides that he wants to make love to her. ” When she is with Chuck she feels more than usually small, intellectual, and timid.”This isn’t supposed to happen. She is supposed to be making love to ”Daniel Aaron, M.H. Abrams, John Cheever, Robert Lowell, Arthur Mizener, Walker Percy, Mark Schorer, Wallace Stegner, Peter Taylor, Lionel Trilling, Robert Penn Warren or Richard Wilbur.”How could things go this wrong? But: ”Why does London look so marvelously well today? And why does she feel for the first time that she’s not only seeing it, but is part of it? Something has changed, she thinks. She isn’t the same person she was: she has loved and been loved.”I do believe that any place from the penthouse apartment to the squalors of ghettos is improved by being in love. Everything has more vibrancy whether it is the shimmer of an apricot evening dress or the coarse fiber of a potato sack dress. Knobby knees or shapely calves or lush lips or crooked teeth all are beautiful because they belong to the person you love. Most of the book I just wanted to pick Vinnie up off the ground and envelop her in a big hug. I wanted to chuck her under the chin every time her lips started to quiver. I wanted to rebuff each and every one of her self-denigrating comments with a bouquet of assurances. This book reminds me of an interview with Dustin Hoffman when he talks about how dressing as a woman in Tootsie had him thinking about all the interesting women he has never known because they didn’t fulfill the physical demands that men are brought up to admire. Check out the clip where he actually gets emotional trying to explain it. Lurie has a lot to say about getting older, never being pretty, being too attractive, being too successful, never quite fulfilling your expectations for yourself, all of which can be deemed assets or deficits depending on what your evolving priorities look like. This book is witty, truthful (sometimes painful so), intelligent, warm, humorous, and ultimately a rewarding read whose characters will become a part of the narrative of your life. Highly recommended! 4.25 stars!If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.comI also have a Facebook blogger page at:

  • Brina
    2019-04-02 07:03

    In my quest to read through the Pulitzer Prize winners, I was alerted to Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie, the 1985 winner. An academic who specializes in children's literature, Lurie's award winning novel is gleaned from her real life experiences. Featuring characters with strong, distinct personalities, Lurie writes of finding romance in the least likely of places while making distinctions between American and British society. Virginia "Vinnie" Miner is a fifty four year old spinster professor specializing in differences in nursery rhymes in the United States and Britain. Granted a six month leave from her college for research, Miner travels to London and a society where she has always felt more comfortable than that of her native soil. Divorced for over twenty years and used to living alone, Miner does not view herself as lovable material. That is until sits next to Oklahoman Chuck Mumpson on the plane ride overseas, and various, conflicting emotions tug at both their heartstrings. Used to failure in love, however, Vinnie resides herself with the fact that she will most likely never see Mumpson again. Meanwhile, Miner's much younger colleague Fred Turner has also come to London to research 18th century literature. On a trial separation from his feminist wife, Turner has a new found independence in life and love. While attending a party as Miner's guest, Turner encounters famous television actress Rosemary Rooney and becomes enamored with her. They begin a relationship, much to the chagrin of Rooney's cultured, British friends, who attempt to use Miner as an intermediary to ward him off. What ensues is the least likely of relationships and the emotional baggage that comes with them. Lurie's novel points at stark differences in American and British culture, with each group mocking fun at the other. This was especially the case with both illicit couples, but each peripheral character poked fun at their counterpart group as well. Perhaps, this facet of the book is a little dated, as it takes place pre-internet with few if any opportunities for various cultures to mingle. One can see this pointed out as characters send letters or telegrams home, frustrated with the time it takes for mail to arrive overseas. A novel written in the internet age would perhaps not stress cultures as markedly different as the world has gotten smaller, and there is more interaction with people in other parts of the world. Distinction between cultures is not what inevitably downgraded the book for me. As someone who is happily married with children, I found it tough to relate to a middle aged woman who is happily single and detests children. Of all the characters in the novel, I liked Virginia Miner least while I liked Chuck Mumpson, a proud American, best. I found his dialogue humorous, diffusing the depressing vibe I felt with Miner. Meanwhile I gave Fred Turner credit for staying in London despite the economic obstacles he faced there, while I found his relationship with an actress to be unrealistic at best. Lurie's writing is worthy of a Pulitzer, and I did appreciate her portrayal of Miner still needing affection as she moves toward older age. Yet, not all of the characters in this novel work for me, so I can not list Foreign Affairs as one of my favorite Pulitzers. Still, I can say that I have read another Pulitzer winner, one that tackles ageism, feminism, and cultural stereotypes all rolled into one. Weighing the story with the writing, I rate Foreign Affairs between 3.5-3.75 stars.

  • Emma
    2019-04-07 02:49

    Really great portrayal of a middle aged academic and her sojourn in London. Also a young American colleague of hers in London for research at the same time.I really enjoyed both their perceptions of London in the eighties and how tourists feel when visiting a city. Vinnie is an Anglophile and an intellectual snob and tries to resist the allures of a brash American tourist. Fred gets involved with a 'luvvie' actress..Their time in London will not be forgotten. They may have been brief interludes outside the box of their 'normal ' lives, but their experiences during this trip will certainly stay with them.This was well written and highly perceptive. As a single woman of a certain age myself, I found many of the observations in this book made me squirm a little, even as I enjoyed them and even when they made me laugh, because they were so 'spot on'.I really liked metaphorical dog character who accompanies Vinnie through the book and her life..Very good read. Recommended.

  • Michael Finocchiaro
    2019-03-26 23:56

    I enjoyed this book as far as the story goes, but felt a little cheated in the end. Vinnie, the 54-year old, somewhat frumpy protagonist, does her best to stave off her emotions to the point of objectifying her self-pity as an invisible dog, Fido. She meets Chuck Mumpson, a big, clumsy tourist from Oklahoma, on her plane to London where she has a residency to work on a book of research into nursery rhymes for her upstate NY university in Corinth. Also in London for his work on John Gay, the English poet and dramatist, is Fred Turner from Vinnie's same department who is estranged from his wife Roo. Vinnie eventually has an affair with Chuck (no, not a spoiler as it is ineluctable from the title of the book), but still can't manage to get past her inhibitors. Fred, meanwhile, falls for a gorgeous aristocratic actress Rosemary while Chuck delves into his English ancestors amd falls deeply for Vinnie. The story revolves primarily around these two parallel narratives as they each play out and to the entourage of Vinnie which includes the actress and some of her intimate friends. There are moments of comedy and sadness, but I had a hard time sympathizing for Vinne and Fred (feeling more pained actually by Chuck and Rosemary) as neither of them really comes to much of a catharsis or significant learning from their respective foreign affairs. Maybe, it is the deep down romantic in me that hoped for at least one of them to surpass their ingrained hardness to express their vulnerability to their lovers, but as this doesn't happen, it left this reader frustrated. As for winning the Pulitzer, perhaps I'd have to read that year's other finalists, I Wish This War Were Over by Diana O'Hahier or Leaving the Land by Douglas Unger to see how deserved it was. I would say that as gifted a writer than Allison Lurie is, Foreign Affairs does not have the same depth to its adulterous characters as, say, John Updike, or the same folksy lyricism as Richard Russo, both of whom are - to me - similar writers. I did appreciate the various origins of children's stories that we learn from Vinnie and apparently this reflects the author's own research. Was she projecting herself onto Vinnie perhaps?

  • B the BookAddict
    2019-04-14 00:40

    Charming, perceptive and told with discreet humour, Foreign Affairs is the Pulitzer Prize winning novel about two American academics on six months study leave in Britain. Vinnie (Virginia) is a single 54yo professor from Corinth, an admitted Anglophile in Britain to collect notes on nursery folklore and looking forward to seeing her academic and theatrical British friends. Fred is a very handsome 28yo lecturer from Vinnie's department and in Britain to write a book on the eighteenth century poet John Gay but his marriage has broken up on the eve of his departure and he's lonely and depressed. The two paramours in this tale are polar opposites: Vinnie's guy is from Oklahoma, a big man who dresses like a cowboy and Fred's lover is a titled British actress with many sides to her character. Vinnie's a bit of a snob; at first she strives to keep her American lover apart from her British friends. She finds he has awakened in her a desire and passion she thought she would not experience again so keeping him outside her British life becomes a struggle . Normally used to having women throw themselves at him, Fred struggles constantly to claim his new lover's full attention and heart. She constantly stymies Fred, withholds her affections and appears to have many other suitors. The situations which arise for Vinnie and Fred are surprising, emotive, sometimes wryly comical but always thought provoking. As the story progresses, the lives of these four characters begin to cross at the soirees and parties of their British friends and associates. Alison Lurie resonates beautifully the many facets of relationships, passion and love while mostly alluding to the sexual. She also gives a glimpse of the private lives of the British upper class and theatrical world. Mostly, this novel is about the complex nature of relationships rather than one of romance. It also showcases how we often find not what we want but, in fact, what we need. The totally unexpected ending of this novel both surprised and satisfied me as a reader. Foreign Affairs will give pause for thought but will also deliver wonderfully subtle humour. This is fine literary fiction; it is elegant, insightful and ever entertaining. Highly recommended for everyone. 4★

  • Glenn Sumi
    2019-03-28 23:45

    Two American university colleagues doing research in London get involved in very different affairs in Alison Lurie's charming, impeccably written comedy of manners.A tad lightweight for a Pulitzer Prize-winner (it took the prize in 1985), the highly readable novel offers up wise truths about etiquette, aging and the mysteries of love.There are some hilarious sections, especially involving a complaining couple named the Vogelers and their demanding baby. And the London setting is evocative (I timed the reading of the book to coincide with my recent first trip there). But Lurie also has profound things to say about the art of fiction, and near the end, there are some scenes of raw emotion and beauty.

  • Ellie
    2019-04-22 06:49

    I loved this book, although there was a bitterness to it that stayed after the fun was over. Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie is the story of two American academics visiting England for research, and not just of the literary kind. Vinnie Miner is, by her own description, a plain, unmarried professor of children's rhymes in her mid-fifties who considers herself more English than American. Fred Turner is a young adjunct professor, also American, in England to do research on 18th century playwright, John Gay. Both are surprised by the romantic partners they find.Lurie's prose is witty and intelligent, just like her "heroine" Vinnie. The book offers a wry commentary on who we perceive ourselves as being and the sometimes jarring reality of who we are and how much we are constructed by other people's perceptions of us.This is a book I would like to read again.

  • Kate Quinn
    2019-04-26 23:36

    As the heroine of "Foreign Affairs" complains, there is no grand romance in our culture for the middle-aged, only for the young and beautiful. This book is a delightful counter to that truism, the story of what happens to an unmarried and acerbic professor of English literature when grand passion strikes her at fifty-five. The book follows two threads - Fred, a young academic, and Vinnie, the spinster professor, both of whom have come to London in search of scholarly research. Instead, separately, they find love: disastrously for Fred, who is stranded between his ultra-feminist American wife and ultra-feminine English mistress; and more happily for Vinnie who to her own horror finds herself embroiled with a cowboy named Chuck. Fred is amusing, but it is Vinnie who catches our hearts. Middle-aged, over-educated, and snobbish, she dismisses the drawling Chuck on sight as "a person with no inner resources who splits infinitives." But Chuck wins her over, and their unlikely romance is tender and telling. The ending is poignant but perfect. A lovely read.

  • Elizabeth (Alaska)
    2019-04-05 02:45

    In the first few pages, I was amused to find one of the two primary characters reading The Singapore Grip - the novel I had finished just prior to starting this. Vinnie Miner is an English professor who specializes in children's literature. She is headed to London for 6 months on a research grant. The other primary character is Fred Turner, an assistant professor at the same University, who is also in London on a research grant. The alternating chapters are headed by first a children's rhyme (Vinnie's interest) and second by an excerpt from one of John Gay's poetry (Fred's interest). All of the characterizations are good, but the characterization of Vinnie is far better than just good. Perhaps that is my reaction because I can relate better to a woman past 50 than to a man not quite 30. These are real people even if I cannot relate to college professors and the opportunity to do research at the British Museum.While thinking what I might say about the prose, I thought of Elizabeth Strout, one of my favorite authors. As Lurie came first, I wonder how much Strout has been influenced by her. The story is presented without any huge drama, although there are a couple of short dramatic scenes. How much more quiet can it get with Vinnie sitting on a bench at the London Zoo watching the polar bears? It is what Vinnie thinks as she sits there that moves the story. For those who need big action, perhaps this is too quiet, but it is exactly the sort of story that I've found especially appeals to me.Here is another author I want to explore more fully. I hope my life expectancy lives up to the promise of my ancestors, as I keep adding and adding to the list of books I hope are in my future!

  • Marianna
    2019-04-27 05:41

    How this won a Pulitzer is beyond me. Just a Romance novel with some cynicism thrown in.

  • Kathleen
    2019-04-15 01:52

    I loved the idea of this story, and there is much in it I would normally like: An American in England, a middle-aged love story, a dog mascot, gossip, lots of tea drinking. Maybe if I’d pulled it randomly off the library shelf I would have enjoyed it more. But that “Winner of the Pulitzer Prize” at the top sets the expectations pretty high, and this just didn’t live up to them.The plot was okay, and the story moved along well enough, but the writing style was disappointing. It’s so much harder to write a bad review than a good one! I’m struggling with how best to say this, so I’ll just be brief. There was more telling than showing, too many overdone stereotypes, and it just wasn’t that funny.2.5 stars, rounding up because I clearly missed something.So now I’m on the lookout for a story like this, but better. Post-fifty characters falling in love, an English setting, preferably with a dog running around, but with the cliché’s left at home. Ideas anyone?

  • Judy
    2019-04-17 00:46

    It was a breath of fresh air to read a story that didn't involve young couples with or without children. And the main character, a 54 year old woman, is a college professor with an established reputation in children's literature. Sounds like a person I'd like. She has her own demons, including self-pity, but she recognizes her demons and gives them form in a mutt, mainly Welsh terrier, whom she has named Fido. Thus, the reader can recognize her mental state whenever Fido is trailing at her heels.Without actually going to London, I can feel like I'm there, accompanying this familiar lady whom I've never met (and never will). When I reached the end of the book, I wouldn't have minded starting to read it again. Of the Pulitzer prize winners that I've read, this is one of my favorites.

  • Leah
    2019-04-01 04:39

    I'm astounded that this book won the Pulitzer Prize. I can only think that the prize was given more for the author's body of work rather than this particular novel. I don't understand why, but I've been stuck with a rash of books where the characters are completely unlikeable, and this one is no different. The story revolves around two American Professors who go to London for research for just less than a year. The story follows them through their friendships and affairs and absolute lack of any sort of University involvement at all. Even the people they come into contact with are horrid people. This book went back and forth between chic-lit and serious fiction. Pick one.

  • David Newman
    2019-04-22 04:54

    This delightful little novel is lighter fare than the typical Pulitzer winner. Don’t look for a deep exploration of universal truth or a treatise on the meaning of life. That is not to say that this is mere fluff. Lurie has plenty to say about both the dark and more noble faces of Human nature. Her insights though, served with a generous dose of restrained humor, are as delectable as a maple sugar candy melting on your tongue. While an undercurrent of humor is sustained throughout the work, this is not slapstick or uproarious comedy. Although continually amused, I only laughed out loud a few times. In a fashion not dissimilar to the following year’s Pulitzer Prize winner, Lonesome Dove, Lurie mixes pathos and humor in a way that feels like life itself. As is McMurtry she is easy and enjoyable to read. And also like McMurtry she never sacrifices entertainment on the altar of profundity. If you are like me, this novel and its characters will grow on you. At first, I will admit I was a bit bored, and wondered what all the fuss was about. However, by the time I was about a third of the way into the story I was thoroughly hooked. Ultimately, Vinnie Miner, the novel’s unlikely heroine proves to be a more interesting, creative and believable character than Fred Turner, her hapless male counterpart. Vinnie is quirky and original enough to be totally unforgettable. And yet she is so familiar you will keep searching for who she reminds you of, certain that you have known someone just like her even though you can’t quite come up with it. The unexpected plot twists which in a more serious work would seem contrived and disingenuous are forgiven here for their entertainment value. I highly recommend this novel to the reader looking for a lighter, but still intelligent, read.

  • Kerry
    2019-04-02 08:00

    This book could have been a snoozer. It begins with a self-pitying professor in her 50s traveling to England to do research. Not really a great "hook." But Lurie awards the patient. When she gets going, she really gets going. The premise of this book may sound overdone or stale. But there is nothing stale, boring, or trite about Foreign Affairs. Lurie doesn't only just delve into the lives of two ordinary academics traveling to London-- stereotypes whose destination is banal, unexotic. They are ordinary, yes, but they are the lens through which Lurie explores, among other topics, Anglophilia's charms and dangers, the literary heroine, the idea of the "dumb" American, how the glamour of travel has a tendency to wear off, elitism, sincerity vs. mere politeness vs. people who literally play a part, and the inflexible world of academia. Lurie's ability to unmask "romantic" pursuits--research abroad, fitting in with the English, genealogical research, having a fling with a television actress--is refreshing. She digs deep into the collective psyche to identify what society has hyped and bought into as markers of adventure or success and shows their lurid or undesirable side. Lurie's writing is smoothly precise, multi-faceted, and buoyant with insight.

  • Connie Mayo
    2019-03-27 06:40

    The Pulitzer is a funny thing. This book made me look up what other books had won the prize, because the feeling of Foreign Affairs is mostly sort of a light romp, and my vague feeling about the Pulitzer was that it was generally for a heavier type of book. But really there is a range - everything from The Road in 2007 (could it GET any heavier?) to the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay in 2001. But still, it seems an odd choice somehow.That being said, Foreign Affairs has some exceptional character development and writing. The story is essentially of two American academics who are in London for six months to do research. Two VERY different Americans, who end up having very different romantic experiences. These two are some of the best portrayed, three-dimensional fictional characters I can recall. I only hold back that one star because the story, for me, is so light that I know I won't end up remembering it for long. Does it belong on the Pulitzer list along side To Kill A Mockingbird and Angle Of Repose? I'm not sure. But then again, I'm not sure about Lonesome Dove being there either, so go figure. The bottom line is, this is a very enjoyable book.

  • Kim
    2019-04-09 23:53

    Vinnie, one of the two main characters whose stories are the focus of this book, is a middle aged academic, not very attractive by her own description. She's a little cranky. Yet I began to like her when she started a relationship with a goodhearted man with whom she has little in common. Her young colleague Fred, whose story intertwines Vinnie's, has no money, no spouse (they split before he went to London without her), and no hope. He meets an actress who introduces him to new people and a more glamorous life than he would have on his own, but she soon proves to be, well, an actress 24/7. This book was readable, entertaining at times, and I liked the London setting. I could never quite see how the two colleagues connected, though, because most of the time they didn't, except that Vinnie introduced Fred to the actress. Sometimes I felt sorry for Fred; sometimes I wanted to shake him until his lovely head sprang off his shoulders like a jack-in-the-box. And I knew that Vinnie needed to make the decision she didn't make.Nice to see a book where a middle aged woman could fall in love and have it be the center of the story. It doesn't happen often enough.

  • Mary M
    2019-03-29 00:44

    An uninteresting story about unlikable characters, and way too long. I have no idea how it won a Pulitzer.

  • Pamela
    2019-04-11 01:43

    This is an entertaining read. Not bad, but definitely DEFINITELY not what you would expect to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It is perhaps one step above a typical romance novel. The characters are ok. The premise is ok. The plot and pacing are ok. But that's it--ok. The better choice would be Berger's The Feud which was a finalist the year before (1984). Now there's a book with something to say!

  • Mark
    2019-04-23 02:43

    A very literate book about an English professor from Corinth University (a rearrangement of Cornell University) who goes to England and wishes she was a Brit. Lots of intrigue with American and British love affairs. I liked the book.

  • Elena
    2019-04-03 07:46

    Three up to four stars. Probably everybody sees the direct link to David Lodge's Changing Places. D. Lodge develops an ample story set on both sides of the Atlantic, while Alison Lurie limits the action to London and to just several characters. The reader ends up loving Vinnie , the American professor in her mid fifties who praises London and everything British but who also finds herself romantically involved with an American guy, as American as he can be. The book has witty lines, humour, meditations on life and how to deal with it, having just the assigned cards in your hand .There are also pages about the helplessness one feels facing the fact of getting old - "Now, at last, all those books have no instructions for her, no demands—because she is just too old. In the world of classic British fiction, the one Vinnie knows best, almost the entire population is under fifty, or even under forty—as was true of the real world when the novel was invented. The few older people—especially women—who are allowed into a story are usually cast as relatives;".Both characters ( Vinnie and Fred) discover that love is different from what one expects based on literary knowledge or romantic expectations. Academics Abroad type of story told in a smart,charming tone.

  • Mary Milner
    2019-04-04 23:45

    I know this book won the Pulitzer Prize---but why is beyond me. The narrative sequences are well written, but the characters! I just don't care about them at all. Vinnie is so needy and whiny---always just a breath away from her next pity party. And Fred! What a schmuck! Chuck turns out to be a more sympathetic character than he is early on. I am about 2/3 of the way through with this book, and at this point I am just scanning to see if there's any reason to actually read what's left. Why did I read this far? I kept thinking it had to get better---but it hasn't.

  • Jhoanna
    2019-04-08 07:35

    I'm discovering all sorts of writers I'd never otherwise discover by scouring the used bookstores in NYC, usually to so-so results. But Alison Lurie is a great find, a tremendously entertaining and captivating writer whose novel about two American academics in London had me in thrall all day today. Lurie won the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for this book, with good reason, drawing comparisons to Henry James and Edith Wharton and Jane Austen - all very good company. I'm going trolling for more of her stuff soon.

  • Josh
    2019-04-23 23:50

    A very literate page-turner delight... sort of like a classic comedy of manners updated slightly for our times. Wharton-esque, even. A lot of fun.

  • Marsha
    2019-04-08 05:03

    Beautifully written and well deserving of the Pulitzer Prize. The characters are so finely chiselled that they are memorable, real people, flaws and warts, but people you truly care about.

  • Kathy
    2019-04-03 07:43

    Valentine's Day Read-I was desperate to find a well written book and decided to browse Pulitzer Prize winners and got lucky with this selection from my library.This was my first book by this author and due to its brilliance I intend to read others.Two teachers from ivy-league college head to London for study between terms. One is handsome young man hoping to gather information at British Museum; one is "plain" over fifty female whose studies center on children's literature and play-time folk rhymes. Both have visits from Cupid.As for our lady, Vinnie:"...plain women often have a sex life. what they lack, rather, is a love life."And the gentleman, Fred:"Fred Turner knows, of course, that he is a handsome, athletic-looking young man, the type that directors employ to battle carnivorous vegetables. It would be going too far to say that he has never derived any satisfaction from this fact, but he has often wished that his appearance was less striking."And other Americans (friends of Fred) temporarily lodged in London:"It's so ugly, that's what I think I mind the most...Everything's so gray and damp, and of course all the modern buildings are absolutely hideous."Lurie weaves a lovely tale of conflict, bravery, love and loss.

  • Cara
    2019-03-31 06:57

    I was reading a book about children's literature and Alison Lurie was mentioned a few times. Upon learning she wrote a Pulitzer Prize winning book I decided to read it. Foreign Affairs was not what I was expecting and it isn't what I would ever choose for myself, but I really loved most of it. There was a lot of language I didn't expect from an author who is also an expert in children's literature, but I don't know why I was under the illusion an expert in children's literature would write her adult novel for children. This is certainly a book for adults.

  • David
    2019-04-03 02:51

    This book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1984. While there is nothing particularly profound about it, it is a very readable, well-paced addition to the 'academics abroad' genre. The story is reminiscent of David Lodge’s excellent “Changing Places”. However, where Lodge’s two academics are English and American transplants, respectively, Lurie follows the progress of two American academics, each on a 6-month leave in London. One of the pleasures of this particular genre is the author’s freedom to allow characters to develop in unexpected ways. Lurie takes full advantage, particularly for the older (and more interesting) of her two main protagonists, Vinnie Miner, a professor of English in her mid-fifties. Indeed, the author has said that the main theme she wanted to explore in the book was the way in which people living abroad, freed of pre-existing expectations, can change their lives, sometimes quite drastically. (As an immigrant to the U.S., who still has family in Ireland, the question of how one’s identity can morph with a simple change of longitude is one to which I can definitely relate.) Lurie tells a good story, in a voice that is smart and appealing. Although she juggles her various plotlines and romantic liaisons expertly, the conclusion is not entirely convincing. However, this is a minor flaw in an otherwise excellent story, charmingly told.

  • Nancy Jacoby
    2019-03-30 03:47

    Foreign Affairs is the best book I've read so far this year. Well-drawn characters, delightful humor—I was charmed by the story and its scenes. The writing is lively and full of depth, yet succinct and efficient in painting bright imagery and resonant moods. The characters—sympathetic to me despite their faults—appealed to me in the way Lurie depicts them reflecting insecurities and annoyances I've felt at times, and as a lover of English literature, I was captivated by the London setting as observed through their eyes. I'm not going to start another book for a few days so I can savor the aftertaste and fully digest the experience of reading this delightful—though in another sense, tragic—novel

  • Lorin Cary
    2019-04-25 05:01

    This is a delightful book, filled with rich characters and good writing. Vinnie and Frank are both professors on leave in London. Vinnie, a folklorist who collects children's rhymes in playgrounds, has a marvelously active imaginary life. Fido, who represents her self-pity, follows her about, most of the time. Vinnie loves London and over the years had built up quite a number of friends and acquaintances. Frank, a junior professor researching an 18th century writer, is recently separated from his wife and finds London expensive, damp and lonely. Both are transformed by their affairs (with Chuck for Vinnie and Lady J for Frank), and I'll leave it to you to see what that means. Enjoy the ride. Oh, it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1985.