Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Foreign Affairs

I was greatly relieved to hear that everyone like the book since I'm the one who recommended it.  I read it about 20 years ago and absolutely loved it.  It was a much different story than I had remembered, but it was even better this time. 

Joanne asked what we thought about the proclamation on the cover - A splendid comedy.  She said she found it anything but funny.  We experienced an interesting dichotomy.  It turns out that Joanne and Mary didn't think it was funny, but Carolyn and I thought it was hilarious.  In fact, one page I'd marked with a sticky note that said funny.  "On the walls are Victorian paintings in thickly flounced gold frames: two portraits of Posy's distinguished military ancestors and one of a mournful prize sheep who strongly resembles George Eliot."  Mary said that it seemed every page had a nugget, the writing was so keen, and she felt it was the best written book we've read this year.  Kareen was just glad that it wasn't another WWII story.

Diana was disappointed with the ending and would have liked Chuck and Vinnie to have had more time together.  Kareen would have liked a sequel, as would I.  Maureen thought that at least they Lurie could have let them have more time so that frugal Vinnie could have enjoyed the benefit of his money. 

The two parallel stories of affairs and all the accompanying ironies were fun to "contrast and compare."  But the two surprises that Lurie delivered were delicious.  We had begun to suspect that Mrs Harris and Rosemary were one and the same, but only Connie picked up Roo's surname early in the book so wasn't surprised that the critic, L.D. Zimern, was her dad. 

Given that we couldn't change the ending, I think we were content with the changes in Vinnie's life as result of the affair, as she began to see herself as Chuck had.  "Something has changed, she thinks.  She isn't the same person she was:  she has loved and been loved." 

The author was asked in an interview why she had cut the affair so short and she said that if Chuck had lived, he probably would have felt duty-bound to go home to Tulsa.  She also really didn't think that Chuck and Vinnie would have been able to successfully live together.  Vinnie would go home to her academic community and if Chuck had returned with her, he would have a hard time fitting in with his Oklahoma costume.  I liked the ending better after I read that.