American brio confronts European sophistication in these critically acclaimed stories of seduction and self-discovery by New Yorker writer Andrea Lee. In vivid prose shot through with mordant irony, Lee offers the reader a rare combination: sensual evocation of the moment and profound insight into the underlying struggles of gender, race, and class that shape relationships worldwide.
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It would be difficult to overstate the elegance of this story collection from Andrea Lee, who produces fiction and journalism for The New Yorker, among other venues. Lee's interesting women are usually Americans trying their luck in Europe; most of them are African American wives of the Italian elite. Because her subject matter is so rarified (the first story mentions cashmere two times in as many pages) and because her writing is so beautifully transparent, it seems at first that Lee is coasting on the glamour of her subject matter. Not so--these stories are every bit as well put together as the women who inhabit them. "Brothers and Sisters Around the World" is an unforgettable tale of a well-to-do black woman who vacations in Third World countries with her European husband: "on vacation we travel the world to get hotter and wilder." When the narrator impulsively slaps a teenage girl who's been flirting with her husband in a village near Madagascar, the balance of the whole island is upset, with surprising results. Lee limns race, class, and a peculiarly female ambitiousness while always keeping her language as deceptively simple and sharp as an Armani suit. --Claire DedererFrom the Back Cover:
“Richly textured and irresistibly readable...Lee writes like a dream.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Andrea Lee is the real thing. There is nothing more to say.” —Philip Roth
“Dazzling...Lee consistently demonstrates an authoritative story-telling voice that recalls the grainy realism of Richard Ford and the unabashed, crackling seductiveness of Susan Minot....Each story wraps us in its own web of exotic allure.” —The Boston Globe
“Accomplished...distinguished by lucid, sensual language.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Interesting Women is itself the perfect European sojourn—captivating, lyrical, knowing, transporting.” —Time Out New York
“[Lee’s] voice...makes this book a decadent holiday well worth taking.” —Elle
“These stories are really about feeling foreign—in one’s own skin, with one’s own gender, in a native or borrowed country.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Like many of the unions you find in her new collection, Lee’s idiosyncratic marriage of seemingly opposite traits is well worth celebrating.” —New York
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