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The American Lover (2014)

by Rose Tremain(Favorite Author)
3.38 of 5 Votes: 5
0701185228 (ISBN13: 9780701185220)
Chatto & Windus
review 1: Short stories are not my usual choice of reading, but as I love Rose Tremain's novels I thought I would try this collection, and I'm glad I did. Very few modern writers have Tremain's ability to evoke an atmosphere, a setting, a character, and it is this skill that makes these stories so readable. Some are more successful than others, some look rather like an outline for a full-length novel, but all are engaging and many are deeply moving. I saw in a newspaper interview that Tremain herself recommends reading these stories one at a time, allowing time to absorb each one and reflect upon it, rather than racing through the whole book in one sitting, and I think this is wise advice.
review 2: The strange story of Tolstoy’s death has been told again and again
... morein fiction, non-fiction and film, but in one of the stories in this book, ‘The Jester of Astrapovo’, Rose Tremain finds a way to make it fresh and eye-opening: she tells it from the point of view of the station master and makes of him a striking individual whose view of events can only fascinate. Class distinctions and the distinctions between the literary and non-literary worlds emerge with effortless clarity and in a short space a vision of the complexities of late imperial Russia fill the reader’s mind. The skill required to find precisely the right point-of-view and to recreate a time and a place with great economy are typical of Rose Tremain’s stories. Some of her lesser novels seem to carry this too far, so that the clarity becomes blurred in a mass of detail, but these short stories are almost-perfect gems.They range over a wide variety of places, times and personality types. The title story moves through London, Paris and New York. The eponymous lover is a smooth operator who leaves the (third-person) point-of-view character dazed and confused, as manipulators do. There is a story set among Yarmouth fishermen, like Dickens’s Peggotty family, yet unlike them too. The seaside is also part of the setting for ‘The Housekeeper’, which echoes the Tolstoy story by referring to a literary world, in this case that of Daphne de Maurier’s ‘Manderley’. 'The Housekeeper' also contains erotic writing of considerable power which contrasts with the erotic misadventures in ‘The American Lover’, while issues of writers and the yearning to write recur in several situations. Another example: ‘A View of Lake Superior in the Fall’, which tells of an elderly urban couple attempting to retire to a non-urban setting, varies the seaside theme with a setting at an inland lake. In such ways the stories relate to each other with interlocking threads while each remains a unique and distinct world in itself.Short stories seem to be returning to favour with publishers and, perhaps, readers and Rose Tremain’s stories show why they are inexhaustible. She is a fine stylist and an imaginative creator of fictional worlds that relate intensely to non-fictional ones. less
Reviews (see all)
Didn't realise I'd read quite a few of these in newspapers, just makes me long for her next novel
A good mix of short stories, some of which I would have like to have been a bit longer.
found it a little dull !!!
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