After more than half a century of marriage, Dorothy and George are embarking on their first journey abroad together. Three decades younger, Jan and Annemieke are taking their last, as illness and incompatibility bring their unhappy union to an end. At first the luxury of a Caribbean resort is no match for the well-worn patterns of domestic life. Then the couples' paths cross, and a series of surprises ensues-a disappearance and an assault, most dramatically, but also a teapot tempest of passions, slights, misunderstandings, and small awakenings that punctuate a week in which each pair struggles to come to terms with what's been keeping them apart.
A hit with readers and critics alike when it was published in England in 2005, Becoming Strangers is a different kind of love story, in which there's seldom a happy ending but sometimes a chance to redeem a life half-lived.
Dean's ability to portray the tragic-comedy of everyday lives with empathic but laser-sharp wit sets Becoming Strangers way above most first novels, and presages a wonderful future for this talented author. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
San Francisco Chronicle - Patricia Conover
Dean writes as a poet, creating sinewy phrases with seeming effortlessness. At times, her sheer talent takes one's breath away in its rigorous complexity and lyrical dazzle.
Dean's grasp of the material is shaky and her voice erratic.
Booklist - Mary Ellen Quinn
The novel might have sunk under the weight of its themes of loss, but Dean suffuses it with a comic touch and handles her several narrative threads with skill. Give this to readers who enjoy thoughtful character-centered fiction.
A book that is poignant, often funny and unexpectedly redemptive.
Louise Dean has her wicked yet empathetic eye, her ear for pathos, and her almost supernatural talent for observing and measuring the comedy and tragedy of ordinary, heartfelt lives.
The Economist - Fiammetta Rocco
After reading more than 50,000 pages of fiction (as one of the judges of the Man Booker Prize), I take away an introduction to two or three immense new talents I had not known before, and a clear memory of reading what was to become my favourite sentence: "The South African pulled his short shorts back up from around his ankles and positioned his genitals gamely inside the fishing-net interior".
The Independent - Jonathan Myerson
This is the sort of book that makes you want immediately to go back to page one and start again. The entire story is perfectly balanced, with each sin weighed against a kindness, each act of selfishness underpinned by a deeply-held belief.
The Times - Fiona Hook
Louise Dean is biblically prodigal with the sharp soundbite, casually sowing them into her text without waiting to see if they yield a harvest reaction.
The Sunday Times - Alex Clark
"Nothing makes you good, not even the life we want can do that, not even success." But that realisation, Dean suggests, may provide the briefest of opportunities to rectify matters, and her impressive, unsentimental and unshowy novel shows how that process might be begun.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by pointereader Characters Big, Action Small I picked this up for its setting--the Caribbean--because I was headed there. It was a good enough beach read: interesting characters, several lovely passages, some deep thought (nothing too strenuous), but I kept feeling like I'd already read the... Read More
Louise Dean was born in 1970
and brought up in Kent. She
received a BA Hons in History from
Downing College, Cambridge in 1991.
After spending time in Hong Kong and
New York, she is now married with three children and splits her time between France and England.
Strangers is her first novel.
It was long-listed
for the 2004 Man Booker Prize, and
was the only title to be voted onto
the long-list unanimously by all
was also a finalist for The Guardian
Best First Novel Award and won the
Betty Trask prize (awarded by the
British Society of Authors to a
writer under the age of 35 for a
first novel, who is also a
Her second novel, This Human
Season was published in the
Research shows that 90% of Americans value public libraries(Dec 11 2013) According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, about 90% of Americans aged 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an...