- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Phoenix; New edition edition (4 Oct. 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0753812746
- ISBN-13: 978-0753812747
- Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,086,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Nights in a Foreign Country Paperback – 4 Oct 2001
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A talented young writer returns with haunting stories about love, dreams, and ultimately, freedom.
Jean McNeil's first novel, Hunting Down Home, was widely praised for its 'knife-edged lyricism' and exquisite language. With this collection of stories, she returns to form with thirteen startling tales of longing and arbitrary lives. In 'Once Seen', a young woman in London constructs her own yearnings through ads in the Once Seen columns. In 'Beach Boy', Ignacio struggles to recall an earlier childhood, and a mother in the northern hemisphere who wants him back. A once successful writer seeks to revitalise his career through tracing the journeys and illicit loves of his famous travel writer friend in 'Cachoeira'. Lives intertwine briefly and uncoil suddenly in these human encounters - two girls in a burning landscape, a journalist caught in a Central American coup, a father and a daughter watching eels thrashing in a weir on a moonlit night. Set in Canada, Britain, France and Central America, each story is a whole world in itself, perfectly created in precise, sensuous language.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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Far from jumping into bed with each other, the characters are seeking intimacy whilst guarding themselves against too much involvement. Always complicated and not always attractive, all are believable and sensitive. The ambiguity could irritate someone reading for plot alone. If you're looking for quick guides to holiday destinations, or rollocking plot, or larger than life characters, this is not the book or the writer for you.
The real beauty of the book is the writing. The language is unusually cool, clear and precise. Sharp unexpected imagery throws shafts of light on objects, scenes, emotions. It's the very essence of "what oft was thought but ne'er so well expressed". Read, enjoy, re-read.
I wasn't aware that each story would be so brief, and for a couple of the stories I had no idea what the author had been trying to say, they were just going nowhere. It would have helped if there was a glossary of foreign words in the back of the book, because although the author knew what the words meant themselves,any normal reader was left wondering about the signifance of the words!
There was a trend for most of the characters in the book to be looking for something that they had lost or they were all looking for their next sexual encounter, and they all seemed to be in the same type of job, which seemed to mix each story into the next so that you couldn't get a grip on each individual story.
There were a few stories that grabbed my attention but on the whole it was a disappointing read.