Foreign Affairs

  • by Alison Lurie
  • Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck
  • 10 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Virginia Miner, a 50-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.


What the Critics Say

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 1984

"A splendid comedy, very bright, brilliantly written in a confident and original manner. The best book by one of our finest writers." (Elizabeth Hardwick)
"If you manage to read only a few good novels a year, make this one of them." (USA Today)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An old favourite

I read this book and all AL's books when I was teenager and in my 20s - some time ago! Sometimes old favourites don't stand the test of time but this one did. The narration is clipped and sharp, and this slightly put me off at the start as the voice wasn't how imagined the main character at all - but in fact it was perfect. The story is quite slight but the plot isn't the chief reason for reading books like these. The observational style and witty though often moving content is the point. I loved the tension between two national cultures, England and the USA, seen through the eyes of the Americans in London. A very enjoyable listen.
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- Alison

redemption of a mean little person?

What disappointed you about Foreign Affairs?

the way it was read -- very distracting. The intonation almost never matched the expression described in the text -- e.g. what was supposed to be said "in a flat voice" was read breathily; all the "Hmm", "Mmm", "Umm"s etc, sounded exactly the same; accents were questionable; etc. Every time I began to believe in the narrative I was distracted by the non-credibility of the delivery.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Foreign Affairs?

When Chuck decided not to be disappointed about his ancestors.

Would you be willing to try another one of Jennifer Van Dyck’s performances?


You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The stories about people learning and changing.

Any additional comments?

It was uncomfortable and tiring to be in the presence of mean little Vinnie Miner for so long.

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Book Details

  • Release Date: 20-12-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios