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Foreign Bodies (2010)

by Cynthia Ozick(Favorite Author)
3.1 of 5 Votes: 2
0547435576 (ISBN13: 9780547435572)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
review 1: Written by a James fanatic, Ozick does an impressive and enticing job in transforming many of the concerns in The Ambassadors, unearthing ulterior motives of characters, relationship to one's pasts, characters' dense entanglements with one another, and the formation of character via one another and within the milieu of very, varying, contrasting environments. Here, it is France, a place filling my imagination these days, New York, of course, and the west coast/Hollywood. I really enjoyed and admired how Ozick was able to update the story to include intervening historical events, what happened to the Jews in Europe, economic displacement, and easy wealth, as well as the new technology of movie- making in Hollywood. Like James, Ozick has a deft way of interweaving dense, fra... moreught interior consciousness written in elaborate, metaphorical prose, with direct, cutting dialogue that is no less fraught. I wasn't sure how successful she was at the use of letter writing, though the snippets of movie plots and immoral stories is pretty genius. The book does seem all over the place, and though Ozick, via Beatrice Nightingale, a version of Lambert Strether, does seem to feel success at conquering a fanatic male figure striving for musical whole ness and a magnum opus, I'm not sure it is as justified. There still seems to be the nothing, the beast in the jungle of their inner lives, their caged ignorance, that seems insurmountable for interpretation in order to enter into fully, a fulfilling satisfaction seems again to be deferred. A sense of hollowness pervaded my reading experience, making it hard to finish at times, though I'm ultimately glad I did.
review 2: My first encounter with this author, an impulse buy from the McNally Jackson bargain table on the strength of the haunting cover and the engaging epistolary first chapter. So glad I gave in! Brilliant writing in each word, in whole sentences, and in the restrained, trusting way the story is put together. I love Ozick's prose, both precise and indulgent, hints of a fondness for alliteration and frequent intoxicating paragraphs of description so lively and exact that I can almost see the words phsyically rushing out of her pen. The story drags a bit, but she trusts the reader to fill in between the lines, especially in the sections told through letters from unreliable narrators. I will love to read more of her books in the future! less
Reviews (see all)
very interesting, very smart, has a genuine whiff of James about it. Back to The Ambassadors for me!
This book didn't grab me. No interest in the characters. Returned to the library unfinished.
Yawn... I would not have finished this book if it were not a book club choice
Well written, but not one single likable character in the entire book.
25 ILL
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