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The Lovers: A Novel

The Lovers: A Novel

Автор Vendela Vida

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The Lovers: A Novel

Автор Vendela Vida

3/5 (93 оценки)
215 страниц
2 часа
22 июн. 2010 г.


“Vendela Vida has written a riveting and suspenseful novel about an American woman’s voyage to self-discovery.”
—Joyce Carol Oates


“Stunning. A masterful meditation on grief and love. The Lovers is a sensational novel from one of our finest writers at the height of her craft.”
—Stephen Elliott, author of The Adderall Diaries


In 2007, Vendela Vida’s novel Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. With her new novel, The Lovers, former Kate Chopin Writing Award winner Vida tells a powerful and beautiful tale of a widow returning alone to the site of her honeymoon in Turkey, and her subsequent journeys through her past and her present.

22 июн. 2010 г.

Об авторе

Vendela Vida is the award-winning author of six books, including Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name and The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty. Her new novel, We Run the Tides, will be published by Ecco on February 9, 2021. She is a founding editor of The Believer and coeditor of The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers and Confidence, or the Appearance of Confidence, a collection of interviews with musicians. She was a founding board member of 826 Valencia, the San Francisco writing center for youth, and lives in the Bay Area with her family.

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The Lovers - Vendela Vida

When half an hour had passed and there was still no sign of a white Renault, Yvonne began to fear she’d been scammed. Her flight from Istanbul was the last of the day, and the small Dalaman airport was beginning to empty. She stood outside, under a pink-veined sky, looking for anybody who appeared to be looking for her. There was no one but taxi drivers announcing, I take you, or miming the equivalent. She reentered the terminal, hoping she’d missed seeing Mr. Çelik’s employee, who, she’d been told, would be holding a piece of paper bearing her name. But the only visible sign was a large poster on the wall: TURKEY—WHERE EAST MEETS WEST. On the poster two figures, each holding a briefcase, were walking toward each other on a bridge.

She opened her laptop to consult her last e-mail from Mr. Çelik, and immediately regretted it. A pair of young men in tracksuits were staring at her. Now a woman pushing a mop was also looking her way. Peter would have disapproved; they had traveled to nine—ten? no, eleven—countries during their twenty-six years of marriage, and he had been proud of their ability to go unnoticed. This was her first trip since his death, and already she was breaking their rules.

The laptop had been a present from her son and his fiancée, and Yvonne was sorry she’d brought it. She was sorry she owned it. She carried it with her into the ladies’ restroom, where, alone, she propped it on the sink counter. She was troubled to discover she was not mistaken: Mr. Çelik had last written to say she would be picked up by one of his employees at 19:30, on the fifteenth of June, outside the Dalaman airport, and be driven to the house in Datça. His e-mail also confirmed he had received the thousand-dollar deposit she’d wired into his account. A thousand dollars! What a fool she’d been to wire so much money to secure a vacation home she’d seen only on a website. She carefully wrote down Ali Çelik’s phone number on the back of her boarding pass, slipped her computer into her bag, and left the restroom. There was no pay phone in sight.

Outside in the shadeless parking lot, the heat felt thick, as though it had been compacted by the hours of the day. Not wanting to offend conservative Turks, she had flown in a loose, long-sleeved blouse and a skirt that reached beneath her calves—an outfit she had discovered was both stifling and unnecessary. No one on the plane from Istanbul wore a head scarf. The Turkish women, most of them young and wealthy, were dressed in jeans and sequined T-shirts and high-heeled sandals. The rest of the seats were occupied by British post-grads in sundresses, Turkish men in long shorts, and Norwegian girls with tight bright shirts and nondescript boy friends.

By the parking lot there was a narrow café and newspaper kiosk, where Yvonne asked the cashier if she could make a call. She showed him the number and he pulled a black phone out from behind the bar and dialed for her. A small act of mercy—she didn’t know which numbers to leave off the long row of digits.

She was surprised when a voice answered.

Mr. Çelik? she said.

Oh good, it’s you, he said. His accent was negligible.

Yes, it’s me, she said.

My man has been looking for you! Mr. Çelik said. Where are you?

Just outside the airport. At the café.

You came out on the wrong side of the airport.

There’s another side? she asked. I’ll walk over there.

Please. No. You stay there. I’ll call and have him come around.

Thank you, she said. He had hung up. Thank you, she said again, and laughed with the pleasure of relief. She had not been scammed. She was not a fool.

From the plane, Yvonne had been mesmerized by the Mediterranean, its texture like chiffon. It reminded her of a play her twins had been in when they were young. Aurelia and Matthew had each held one end of a large swath of blue iridescent material, and alternated lifting and lowering it with their tiny hands. The play was called The Ocean.

Now, as she stood in front of the café, Yvonne couldn’t see the water, but she could taste the salt in the air. A white car sped up and stopped, and not one but two men, one tall, the other taller, emerged. They looked too big for the small car.

Hello! she said, as though she was the one welcoming them to her country. Both men nodded.

The driver lifted her suitcase from her side and placed it in the backseat. He ceremoniously held the door open for her and she slid inside. The seat was warm and sticky.

There are two of you, she said.

He doesn’t speak English, so I am here to translate, explained the man in the passenger seat. He work for Mr. Ali Çelik. His name is Mehmet.

Yvonne asked the interpreter what his name was, and when she couldn’t understand his response, she asked again, and then gave up. How long is the drive? she said instead.

Three hours, maybe not so much. They remake the roads, so maybe longer or smaller. We stop for coffee.

The car started. The men spoke to each other and laughed and Yvonne sat in the back, next to Peter’s old Samsonite. This was her companion now.

Through the window Yvonne saw rows of squat palm trees and turquoise minarets. The car slowed through the town of Marmaris and passed by an endless strip of bars, many with British flags and sunburned, sandaled tourists sitting outside, drinking beer from narrow glasses.

After Marmaris there were short stretches when water was visible, until the sun, which had been making a drawn-out exit, finally dropped. Then, only shapes, sounds—the occasional house, a barking dog. Yvonne and the two men moved quickly: the moment they reached something they left it behind. She was having difficulty understanding how the trip could take even two hours at the speed they were traveling, but suddenly, after passing no particular town or landmark, the road was unpaved, and she could feel every bump, every kilometer. We are on Datça peninsula now, the man in the passenger seat said, turning his dented chin in her direction. Datça the town is near the end.

Yvonne nodded into the sepia darkness.

Soon after, the car pulled into a lit and landscaped area, a restaurant with only outdoor seating. The men ordered coffee and Yvonne ordered an orange Fanta.

How do you say thank you? she asked the interpreter as they walked to a table.

Simplest way for you is tea and sugar. That’s what sounds like. Tea and sugar.

Tea and sugar? said Yvonne.

You are welcome, he said, and laughed.

They sat at a picnic table near a short bridge that spanned a small pond. Around them, at other tables, round and square, sat couples on dates and large groups of men laughing and smoking unfiltered cigarettes. The scent was both aged and ripe.

Mehmet said something and his friend translated: Mr. Çelik is a very powerful man.

Yvonne shrugged. I don’t know much about him.

They looked at her, as though wondering how it was possible that she was unaware of Mr. Çelik’s power.

What do you know about Turkey? Mehmet said.

Well, a few things, she said. I know it’s one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

Mehmet’s friend smiled and translated her words. Mehmet nodded. In her travels, Yvonne had yet to meet anyone, in any country, who argued with the assessment that their country was among the most beautiful.

What else?

I know that Turkey hasn’t been allowed into the EU.

Mehmet understood EU and he and his friend began a private discussion that seemed to escalate into an argument.

Sorry, Yvonne said.

It’s okay, the interpreter said. We just don’t agree. I think that if EU doesn’t want us, then fuck EU. But Mehmet, he thinks Turkey needs to look at its past. He thinks Turkey needs to be truthful about its history.

The men continued their heated discussion in Turkish. Yvonne thought she heard Armenia, but she couldn’t be certain. The interpreter seemed to be finding English more difficult as his frustration grew, and his attempts to include her in their conversation dwindled.

The exclusion was a relief. Yvonne pulled up the sleeves of her blouse and tucked her skirt between her knees so the warm air could touch her skin. She was enjoying the role of being the observer rather than the observed. It was only now, while sitting at this roadside restaurant on the Datça peninsula, that she fully comprehended the claustrophobia she’d experienced for the past two years. She had been under surveillance, in the way that was particular to new widows. The faculty at her high school, her students, her neighbors, the dry cleaner, the clerks at the video store—especially the clerks—had all been watching her. How are you? was no longer a casual question, for an ambivalent response from Yvonne could inspire gossip, which in turn triggered unsolicited phone calls and concerned visits.

Recently, whenever she was asked how she was spending a weekend, she had resorted to lying, claiming her kids or some unnamed cousins were coming to visit, so no one would be aware she was passing the time alone. Burlington, Vermont, her home for half her life—the married half—had become a dollhouse, the fourth wall removed, the vacated and cluttered rooms of her solitary existence visible for all to see. Why had she waited so long to get away?

Exhaustion hit her on the second leg of the drive, but the unpaved road prevented her from sleeping. Each time she was on the cusp, a turn or bump jostled her awake. By the time they approached Datça, the idea of rest had been shaken from her body, and her head felt hollowly alert. She recognized the sensation from her jet-lagged adventures with Peter, and, more recently, from the jagged sleep cycles that had consumed her after the funeral. Those months of nights when she would finally, exhausted of tears, fall into a sleep so deep that when she awoke, she would blink in the light, drunk with the possibility of a new day, until only a minute later the reality—Peter had been killed and was gone—tightened around her again.

Once they were in Datça, Mehmet turned and drove straight uphill for ten blocks. He stopped the car in front of a white house. Yvonne recognized its shape, though the staircase was imposing, much larger than it had looked in the photos. The stairs sullied the house’s appearance like bad teeth in a wide smile. As she stepped out of the car, Yvonne could see the outline of flowers that covered the entranceway. She knew from the pictures they were purple. Bougainvillea.

Yvonne followed Mehmet up the steep set of stairs while the interpreter followed behind with her suitcase and bag. The front door opened into a tiled foyer, with a dining room and kitchen to the left, and a living room to the right. The decor was white and black with red, blue, and yellow accents. A Mondrian palette. A large red steel staircase, like a structure at a children’s playground, spiraled upward and down. She had come to Turkey, land of ruins and antiquity, to stay in a modern home.

With brisk steps, the men ventured around the house. The lights turned themselves on as they entered each room. At first Yvonne thought her escorts were confirming no one was in the house, but then she understood their instincts were less protective: they were curious. Mr. Çelik was a wealthy man—their boss—and Yvonne guessed this was their first time inside his home unsupervised.

Where does Mr. Çelik go when he rents this place? Yvonne asked. She had stepped down into the living room, which contained a large TV, a zebra-skin rug, a blue leather couch, and, behind a locked glass case, a display of old rifles.

He has many houses. Now he stays at his winery house, the interpreter explained. He and Mehmet were standing in front of the rifle display. Yvonne could tell they were speaking to each other about Mr. Çelik’s collection with admiration and not an insignificant amount of envy.

The interpreter carried her suitcase up the red spiral stairs. What room? he called down.

The master one, I guess, Yvonne said. The big one, she added.

You are alone, he said when he came down.

I’m waiting for my family. Her explanation was promptly translated for Mehmet. Both men nodded. It wasn’t completely a lie, but as with many untruths, it made everyone feel more comfortable.

She was handed the keys to the house and to the car—Mr. Çelik had arranged for that as well. When she’d informed him she was considering renting a car from the agency at the airport, he’d promptly e-mailed her back, saying, Don’t waste your money. I know people.

Yvonne tipped Mehmet and his friend. Tea and sugar, she said. They seemed pleased. She inquired how they’d be getting down the hill—as a teacher and a mother, she constantly worried about how people would get home—and the interpreter pointed to another car they had apparently parked at the house earlier. She nodded, smiled, and said good-bye. As she closed the front door behind them, she tried to inhale the fragrance of the flowers before she remembered bougainvillea had no scent.

Now she was able to explore the house on her own. She climbed the staircase to the second floor. In the center of the landing was the entrance to a large bathroom, with a shower curtain patterned with green frogs and a shelf stacked with colorful beach towels. At the back of the house were two small bedrooms, one with twin beds, the other with a single bed and an ironing board standing on its insectlike legs.

Her suitcase had been placed in the largest room, in the front of the house. The bed was covered with a thin yellow bedspread, and one wall was lined with books. Yvonne pulled back the curtains, which reminded her of a crochet dress one of her sisters had owned in grade school. She pressed her face to the glass. At the bottom of the hill lay the ocean, silent and still.

The third floor was smaller, with only a single bedroom and a balcony. On top of the bed, a piece of exercise equipment, complete with black straps and silver chains, had been laid out. Yvonne couldn’t identify its purpose.

She descended the staircase three floors until she was in the basement. Even with the light on, it was a dim place, full of odd tables and lamps and with a couch in the center of the room. She had ventured only a few feet from the stairs when, wary of the automatic lights that might snap off, she returned to the main floor.

By the front door sat a wooden bin, like a small boat, containing an assortment of women’s shoes. She removed her own and tried on a pair of black sandals with short heels. Her size. They were more fashionable than the shoes she was accustomed to—Callie, her son’s fiancée, would have approved—and she placed her own practical shoes in the bin. She walked around, enjoying the sound the sandals made on the tile floor. The sound of elegance, she thought. The sound of a woman preparing for a party.

The kitchen was surgical in its sparseness, the counters bare but for an unlabeled bottle of red wine. A note was propped up against the bottle: From my vineyard. Enjoy! There were faces on the refrigerator door, photos of people on a yacht—all of them in their twenties and thirties, all with drinks. Which one was Mr. Ali Çelik? Which of the beautiful women was his wife? The magnets securing the photos in place read CARPE DIEM! and a MAN’S WEALTH IS MEASURED BY THE AMOUNT OF FUN HE HAS!

Yvonne opened the refrigerator. Cherries glistened inside a silver strainer. She tried one, and then another. She removed the strainer and carried it to the living room, along with a napkin and a small bowl for the pits. She had underestimated her hunger.

From the couch, she couldn’t see anything outside the window—only her own reflection. A brunette woman with pale skin and dark eyes removing pits from her mouth. At first glance, she looked younger than her fifty-three years. She tried not to be vain about this, but she was not un-proud. She had put on weight since Peter’s death, and the extra pounds had filled in her wrinkles, her breasts, her hips. She stood and walked closer to the window so she could see herself better, and then, wondering if the neighbors across the street could see her too, she took a quick step back and retreated

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93 оценки / 16 Обзоры
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  • (4/5)
    Got me. I have been waiting for VV to pull it all together, thought this won't quite make it, was blind-sided. This is her best, most complete yet. Worth it for the integration of time.
  • (4/5)
    An unusual story. And I have an idea that could be said about all her novels. I read this book after hearing her interviewed about another of her books and I found her interesting. Likewise this book is interesting but perhaps a little too much a 'head level' book rather than the 'heart level' that I prefer. That said, however, it's a story that can be read and understood at a surface level so although I'm sure there is a lot of subtle intellectual content I didn't get at all, I still found the story engaging enough. What I liked most was the way Vida presents her main character's thoughts and feelings as well as telling us the story of what she does. I'm interested in Turkey, as well, and that undoubtedly helped me engage with the story. It gave insights into what Turkish people might be like, in a way that sounded true, anyway. I notice my local library has another of Vida's books (The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty - the book about which I heard her interviewed) so I think I'll read that next before I decide whether to keep Ms Vida on my TBR list
  • (4/5)
    I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.In the aftermath of her husband's death, grieving widow Yvonne travels to Turkey where she and her husband had honeymooned 28 years before. Her plan is to spend some time alone reflecting on her marriage and the loss of her husband and then meeting up with her adult twins for a cruise. Her plans become complicated when she quickly becomes entangled in the lives of several people. She uncovers secrets about the man she is renting a house from. She becomes friends with the man's wife and forms an unlikely bond with her. She befriends an elderly woman who runs a yacht service with her husband. And, most poignantly, she befriends a young boy named Ahmet who sells shells at the local beach. Through these interactions, Yvonne gains new insight into herself and the lives of her children until a tragic accident throws everything into chaos.This is a short but affecting book not only about how we move through grief but also about how we define ourselves through relationships. As much as Yvonne longs to be alone with her memories and her thoughts, she cannot stop herself from connecting with other people and being affected by them. These strangers change the way she thinks about herself and her life in ways that she never imagined. While the accident will not come as a surprise, it is still very moving. Vida While some of the relationships in the book felt a little forced, the friendship between Yvonne and Ahmet was wonderful and the exploration of Yvonne's complex and difficult relationships with her addict daughter was also very well done.BOTTOM LINE: Recommended. This book will not appeal to everyone. It is very introspective and quiet with little action or major entanglements. Still, it manages to be affecting and provides a very interesting character in Yvonne.
  • (3/5)
    In The Lovers, Yvonne, 53, travels from her home in Burlington, Vermont to the Turkish town of Datça where she spent her honeymoon with her husband Peter, killed two years earlier in a hit-and-run accident. She was hoping to come to terms with the truth of her marriage - especially to remember again the happiness that characterized it at the beginning, and to emerge from the catatonic state in which she has been since Peter’s death:"…she had come to Datça to strip herself of these lies, to shed this grief. The grief and the lies were the same - one begot the other.”She finds that the small town of Datça had deteriorated, analogous to the way her marriage had. Much of the conflict between Yvonne and Peter was over their twins, Matthew and Aurelia. Matthew was “perfect” and the one on whom Peter bestowed his favor. Aurelia was damaged, subject to alcohol and drug addiction, and Peter seemed to blame Yvonne. Even when the children grew up and left the house, “they had grown so accustomed to resenting each other that they didn’t know how to stop.”In Turkey Yvonne encounters some rather eccentric people, such as the estranged wife Özlem of her proprietor; a local boy Ahmet who sells seashells to her; Ahmet’s sister; and another vacationing American couple. All of them serve to give insights about herself to Yvonne.Eventually, Yvonne gets some answers about her life, but they weren’t answers to the questions she came with; she had been blinded all along by the wrong questions.Discussion: This is a short novel, with spare but well-crafted writing. The primary theme seems to be the way in which we define ourselves through our relationships, and how these ideas of who we are and who the others are in our lives may get embedded in old patterns - almost like those paperweights of insects stuck in amber, that then go on to hold down our growth in the same fixed and stuck way. In addition, these definitions affect the evaluations of us by others; how does one escape such enmeshment? In the biggest metaphor of the book, an owl, bereft of its mate (owls are monogamous), becomes trapped in the house which Yvonne is renting. The owl eventually gets loose; whether Yvonne does too remains to be seen.Evaluation: This is a thought-provoking meditation on sense of self and the importance of relationships to one’s identity. The characters struck me as rather odd though; I didn't really warm up to them. Moreover, some of the plot developments are sort of enigmatic and/or get dropped. In addition, I found the ending to be a bit improbable. Nevertheless, I would recommend it for a book club, because it would definitely generate discussion.
  • (4/5)
    Yvonne, a widow, returns to the small Turkish village where she and her husband spent their honeymoon. Her daughter is an alcoholic; her son has just been proposed to by a wealthy woman. Yvonne is determined to find her way alone. But what happens in this village connects her to Turkey in ways she didn’t expect, including her conviction that she is responsible for a boy’s death. It is worth reading if only to question your own ability to be as independent and determined as Yvonne
  • (1/5)
    Setting interesting. Main character not. End of story. Next!
  • (3/5)
    Yvonne in Turkey. Still waiting for something exciting to happen
  • (4/5)
    Beautifully written quiet book. I enjoyed this - it's an introspective book from the point of view of a middle-aged, recently widowed woman who rents a house in Turkey where she and her husband honeymooned. It is her encounters with random people she meets, some by choice and some not, which shape the story. This book rang true for me and made me think.
  • (4/5)
    This is my first read of a Vendala Vida book. I am from the bay area and have read a couple of books by her husband, Dave Eggers. I liked this book. It got quickly into her feelings and I identified with how she viewed the world. As one who is very connected to his wife, it is always hard for me to read about someone losing a spouse so suddenly. As someone who travels a lot(currently I am living in Buenos Aires for 3 months), I had trouble with the number of Turks that spoke English. It was also hard to buy off on how quickly she got into and people got into each other's lives. But her feelings were real and her insights made me think a lot and after that is what fiction is about.
  • (4/5)
    really enjoyed this novel-- finale, especially, has a wonderful cinematic feel
  • (1/5)
    Sort of aimless...I kept waiting for the book to start, and as another review stated, I just didn't get it. I wouldn't recommend this book.
  • (3/5)
    What to say about The Lovers? It has been several weeks now, and I am still uncertain how I feel about it. If I am honest with myself, I think the true answer is that I just don't get it. I feel that the story that exists is not the one I was expecting. Rather than being about lovers, as the title would suggest, it is more about what Yvonne finding herself, examining her relationships with her family and with herself. The trip to Turkey, rather than idyllic, is flawed as the town is not what she remembers, the people and her side trips are not what she expects. However, there is a beauty behind or in spite of those flaws, albeit one that is stark rather than picturesque. Either because of my confusion or causing my confusion, The Lovers raises many questions with little in the way of answers. Why the title? Who are "The Lovers"? Are we ever truthful with others or even ourselves about our relationships? Is it a self-defense mechanism or something else? Does it take others to help us see the truth or can we find the truth on our own? I still have no idea on any of these. If the definition of a good book is one that causes the reader to question the message and lesson of a novel weeks after finishing, then The Lovers meet the mark. If not, then I may need to do some soul searching of my own because I remain confused by what Ms. Vida shares with us. My expectations were so far left of what actually occurs that I cannot help but feel more than slightly disappointed at the difference. I know others have and will continue to rave about The Lovers. As for my opinion, I wanted to like it more than I did. Unfortunately, this all combines into a book that it just not for me - too esoteric and confusing with a title that has very little to do with the novel itself.
  • (4/5)
    The Lovers, Vendela Vida The Lovers is a novel set in Turkey, where a newly widowed woman returns to the place of her honeymoon, almost three decades before. She's trying to escape her life in Vermont, and her new status as the pitied single woman among couples. As the mother of grown twins, she is conflicted with her memories of her marriage and her relationship with her children. She's discovering that as more time passes since her husband's death, the more she is forced to re-evaluate their relationship.After describing lush and green Vermont, the description of Turkey provides a stark contrast with dust, stones, and volcanic mountains. It's a none-too-subtle hint that with a new setting in place, things are going to change. But are they? This is where the novel makes a twist: nothing you think is going to happen actually happens. Once in place, she craves the company of others, so much so that she puts up with the imposition of others just to have human contact. Eventually, this leads her to a realization about her own personality and her own future. To be sure, this is not a romantic or happily-ever-after "chick" lit story. It is not Eat Love Pray, and there's no glamour, sudden insight, or handsome distraction. Rather, Yvonne, is very much alone and really has no basis to understand who she was, or is. If she's different, then it means her perceptions of her husband and children are altered too, and that's where her story becomes less typical and more interesting. In fact, the title "The Lovers" is misleading...it's not easy to determine who that would describe. It doesn't take long for her to realize she's been playing a role, but she has no other script to turn to...she doesn't quite know how to behave anymore. I don't want to reveal any spoilers, but as the plot continues, she is so disoriented that her decisions become riskier and more dangerous. Rather than feature shocking revelations or dramatic confrontations, the novel proceeds to a realistic conclusion. Rather than settle for a shallow resolution, the novel leaves you to ponder deeper complexities of personality and self.The story is fast paced, and as a main character, Yvonne is solid. But her children remain a mystery, and it's hard to grasp how they fit in with it all. Additionally, in the beginning there are hints as to the direction of the story that are misleading, and really weren't necessary at all. The book didn't need those elements to mystify us, her story alone is strong enough without them. And while the main character is female, the appeal of the plot isn't limited to a female audience.There was one seeming discrepancy: this sheltered woman has put herself in a foreign country, alone, without even a guidebook to the language. She is suspicious at times of others, and rightfully so, as malice is present, and yet she makes no great attempt to lock up her vacation rental or show any sense of caution in her actions. She's throwing euros around as tips, and everyone seems to know she's alone. Unexpected visitors, with their own keys, seem to pop up constantly, and yet she takes it all in stride. That seemed a bit out of character from how she was described, but it's a small complaint.
  • (5/5)
    The title of this book rather frightened me. I thought maybe this could end up being a raunchy book about two lovers. Not so at all and I was so thankful for that! The story revolves around Yvonne who has recently lost her husband and is trying to come to terms with her grief. She goes to Turkey where they honeymooned only to find that Turkey has changed and so has Yvonne. Yvonne has no problems making new friends in Turkey and befriends a young boy who does not speak English and the estranged wife of the man who owns the home she is renting. I thought Yvonne was more at ease with these new friends than with her own children. There were times in this book that I was very afraid for Yvonne and the danger of traveling alone in a country and not being able to communicate with everyone. Vendela Vida did an excellent job making me feel Yvonne's pain and confusion. She portrayed Yvonne as the typical American who needs to fix everything and in many cases makes it much worse. I could so relate in that aspect! I loved the setting of Turkey. It is a setting I am not very familiar with and one I have not read much about. I'm interested in more stories set in the area. I do feel the abrupt ending works well for this short book. At first I wanted more but then decided I was very satisfied with the ending. I would recommend this book. Don't let the title frighten you off!I would give this book 4 1/2 stars! I'll also be looking for more titles from Vendela Vida as she is a new to me author.Thank you to Greg at Ecco for providing this ARC for review.
  • (4/5)
    Yvonne's husband has recently died and her children are adults and don't need her as they used to. She decides to go to Turkey, which is where she and her husband went on their honeymoon--but things aren't as she remembered them. This isa very good book but it's definitely character-driven, not plot-driven. So keep that in mind, because if you're looking for a fun beach read, this isn't it. But if you're looking for a great exploration of relationships (friendship, romantic, parental), this is for you.
  • (5/5)
    The Lovers is the tale of a woman named Yvonne and her trip to Turkey.Yvonne is alone. Literally, she has no traveling companion. On a related note, as the novel progresses, her relationships with family, friends & acquaintances are examined, as well as the idea of relationships, in general.While in Turkey, Yvonne befriends a young boy who sells shells on the beach (thus the picture on the cover of the book). This friendship is at one point compared to two people in a romantic relationship - an observation by a character in the book, not by the narrator. This passing remark sticks with the reader, both because of the book's title and the fact that numerous romantic relationships in the book have been mentioned. Yvonne and her young friend, while in no way romantically involved, get along in a way that none of the romantic relationships in the book do, but in a way that many romantic relationships are portrayed in the media.I adored this book. The writing was concise - Vida utilizes her words beautifully. She writes simply about complicated manners, and the result is a poignant novel that stays with you after you've finished the last word. I love that this book makes the reader think and that it's well written - and I think you'll love that about this book, too.