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Nobody could fail to be won over by the self-deprecating charm of Claire Calman's introduction to her first novel: "despite popular demand that she should go back to magazines, she is now working on another book". Actually, that's good news for readers--those who pick up this sharp and witty meditation on sex and the other element that occasionally goes with it, Love is a Four Letter Word, will definitely be looking out for the second novel.
Calman's heroine Bella is trying to remember what sex is like. Wasn't it something that happened somewhere between the talking-and-going-out-to-dinner bit and the sobbing-and-eating-too-many-biscuits bit? But she is determined to fall off her sexual wagon before she becomes a virgin again ("all sealed over like pierced ears if you don't wear earrings for too long"). But there's one thing Bella is not prepared to hear again: the "L" word. Her body might be making hormonal demands, but she's resolute in not wanting the emotional baggage of love again. Nobody will be surprised, of course, to learn that she's back up to her neck in romantic trouble again--and why is it she always ends up with the wrong kind of man? Like all the best comic novelists, Calman crams her perky narrative with a host of highly diverting characters to surround her beleaguered heroine. The plotting, too, betrays no sign of first-novel inexperience: the situations that contrive to sink Bella deeper in the mire are all as imaginative as they are funny. And Calman's narrative voice always sounds just the right note, as when Bella is ironically considering becoming a nun:
Mother, I'm joining a convent. You'll never seen me again. Who knows, in her austere cell she might even take up painting again. Alone, the patterns of her thoughts would be clear and vibrant, shocking the virgin paper with their boldness, her brush caressing and seductive. She snorted at herself: Saint Bella of the Divine Brushstrokes.--Barry Forshaw
"'Simply wonderful! I was totally enchanted'" (Fiona Walker)See all Product Description
Having just finished reading "Love is a Four Letter Word", I know what my fellow reviewer means when they say they felt weird after reading this book. I do too, inexplicably. Read morePublished on 16 May 2005
I really enjoyed reading Love is Four Letter Word. The characters are warm, humourous and likable and really draw you in to their world............ Read morePublished on 14 April 2003
I thought this was going to be one of the funniest books I've ever read, judging from the other reviews that is!! Read morePublished on 11 Mar. 2003 by N. Stubbs
I enjoyed this immensely. The twist halfway had been me fooled when you find out what has really happened in the past. Read morePublished on 8 Jun. 2001
This is a look at a 30-something woman who doesn't just float through life drinking and sleeping around life so many others suggest. Read morePublished on 15 Mar. 2001
I'm still reading this book but I love it, and I can't put it down. Claire Calman's style of writing is so witty and true to life, and it's made me laugh out loud on several... Read morePublished on 14 Mar. 2001
This was a good holiday read. I'm afraid that's the best way to sum it up, don't get me wrong there was nothing bad about it, but it just didn't hit the spot! Read morePublished on 6 Mar. 2001 by bradgirl
Heart-felt, surprising, sad, deeply emotional, hilarious, all in one book. I recognized parts of myself in the main character (some of them things I hope I've grown out of) and... Read morePublished on 4 Oct. 2000
Although this book revisits a theme covered by a number of books of its genre, I found myself being slowly drawn into an unexpected story line. Read morePublished on 3 Oct. 2000 by firstname.lastname@example.org