39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Cynthia Ozick's refreshing twist on a Henry James classic,
This review is from: Foreign Bodies (Hardcover)
"Foreign Bodies", Cynthia Ozick's latest novel, is a brilliant twist on Henry James's "The Ambassadors". Set nearly three-quarters of century after James's novel, immediately after World War II, "Foreign Bodies" can be seen as the former's mirror image. However, that would be a most simplistic - if not derivative - means of describing it, especially when Ozick has created one of the most memorable characters I have encountered in recent contemporary fiction; Bea Nightingale. Simultaneously irascible and likeable, Nightingale is a veritable force of nature, whose presence disrupts the lives of those around her. She's sent on an errand by her estranged brother to look after his son, her ne'er-do-well nephew, in postwar Paris. There she meets not only her nephew, but his lover, an Eastern European refugee. How she becomes involved with her nephew and his lover is one I'll keep a secret, but it is a secret well worth uncovering via Ozick's elegant ear for dialogue and sparse, but lyrical, descriptive prose. Hers is definitely among the most remarkable literary achievements I have read within recent years. Without question, Ozick has written a modern American literary classic that pays ample homage to its predecessor in spirit, if not in its literary style and content, and yet it is a classic that demonstrates her own unique, quite captivating, literary voice.