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.
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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An old favourite
redemption of a mean little person?
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.
When Chuck decided not to be disappointed about his ancestors.
The stories about people learning and changing.
It was uncomfortable and tiring to be in the presence of mean little Vinnie Miner for so long.