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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.
“One of this country’s most able and witty novelists . . . Wonderfully stimulating.” —The New York Times
“An ingenious, touching book.” —Newsweek
“A brilliant novel . . . Witty, acerbic, and sometimes fiendishly clever.” —London Evening Standard
Alison Lurie (b. 1926) is a Pulitzer Prize–winning author of fiction and nonfiction. Born in Chicago and raised in White Plains, New York, she joined the English department at Cornell University in 1970, where she taught courses on children’s literature, among others. Her first novel, Love and Friendship (1962), is a story of romance and deception among the faculty of a snowbound New England college. It won favorable reviews and established her as a keen observer of love in academia. It was followed by the well-received The Nowhere City (1966) and The War Between the Tates (1974). In 1984, she published Foreign Affairs, her best-known novel, which traces the erotic entanglements of two American professors in England. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1985. In 1998, Lurie published The Last Resort. In addition to her novels, Lurie’s interest in children’s literature led to three collections of folk tales and two critical studies of the genre. Lurie officially retired from Cornell in 1998, but continues to teach and write. In 2012, she was awarded a two-year term as the official author of the state of New York. The Language of Houses (2014) is her most recent book. Lurie lives in Ithaca, New York, and is married to the writer Edward Hower. She has three grown sons and three grandchildren.
I only recently discovered this wonderful and captivating American Author. Having been to London once, I appreciated her warm and self-deprecating pokes of fun at the City and its culture. Clearly, she "nails" London, but also looks at love from two, diametrically opposite viewpoints. The first couple; one a celebrity and the other an Ivy Professor, could easily be objects of derision, and yet we understand them, and feel for them, because Lurie makes them so accessible. The other, middle age/senior citizen couple are likable, if not lovable, and we feel their pain, joy, and humiliation in powerful measure. Lurie's powerful analysis of the psychodynamic a and sexuality of older folks, is captivating and quite contrary to the thinking of folks under 45 years of age. On to her next! Certainly this book is deserving of its acclaim and coveted Pulitzer Prize.