Foreign Affairs

What an idiotic book to win a Pulitzer Prize. Alison Lurie’s 1984 novel has been recommended twice to me in the past few months, and although I initially tasted and discarded it, this time I gave it the full read. Nothing could be more of a waste of time. I’m not sure if it’s the vast gaping chasm that separates this type of book from the quality 1940s British fiction I’ve been reading, but it was pure tripe. The book alternates chapters following two Americans in London, one the 54-year-old spinster professor, Virginia/Vinnie, and one the 28-year-old married English professor, Fred Turner, who has movie-star good looks. You know a book is just going to go off the rails with these two at the helm. Vinnie’s got an imaginary dog that trails her, fed on her own self-pity. Fred’s wife (a photographer) exhibited photos of his penis without his consent, so left in a huff and supposedly they were separated; he finds love in the form of older actress Rosemary, who shockingly turns out to BE the Cockney Mrs. Harris drunkenly hitting on Fred as he sneaks in to get his clothes before heading home to American. Vinnie also picks up an American cowboy boyfriend, married, who she loses her heart to completely. He dies. This book makes me seriously wonder what qualifications are considered for the Pulitzer.