The Lovers: Book summary and reviews of The Lovers by Vendela Vida

The Lovers

A Novel

by Vendela Vida

The Lovers
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2010
    240 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

With the crystalline voice, mordant humor, and depth of feeling for which her work has been so celebrated, Vendela Vida has crafted another unforgettable heroine in a beautiful and mysterious landscape.

Yvonne, recently widowed and the mother of grown twins, returns to Datça, the coastal village in Turkey where she and her husband honeymooned 24 years ago. She hopes to immerse herself in the warm sand and sea, and in memories of a better time in her life. But her plans are quickly complicated. Her Turkish landlord and his bold and intriguing wife have a curious marital agreement and are constant visitors to the home. And rather than being comforted by her memories, they begin to trouble her.

Overwhelmed by her past and her environment, Yvonne clings to her newfound friendship with Ahmet, a young Turkish boy who sells shells at the local beach. With the boy as her guide, Yvonne gains new insight into her own grown children and begins to enjoy the shimmering sea and the relaxed pace of the Turkish coast. But a terrible accident throws her life into chaos, and her own sense of self into turmoil.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Vida shows she’s supremely talented at tracing the drifts of memory and emotion that course through a person ... clear, simple prose ... An elegant consideration of how death and distance tightens human connections—a big theme that Vida addresses with sure-footedness and charm.” - Kirkus Reviews

“Vendela Vida has written a riveting and suspenseful novel about an American woman’s voyage to self-discovery as she travels alone in Turkey. Though the aura of dread mounts, as in one of Paul Bowles' eerie and unnerving works of fiction, there are surprising revelations here, and an utterly unpredictable ending." - Joyce Carol Oates

"Vendela Vida's The Lovers is a spare and haunting meditation on how travel can bring us full circle back to the place from which we should have started. I read it over two days and dreamed about it the second night." - Francine Prose, author of Goldengrove

Vendela Vida writes with elegance and economy. In this engrossing novel, she has managed to combine a stingingly acute portrait of grief, a moving meditation on love (both filial and romantic) and a page-turning adventure. - Zoe Heller, author of The Believers

"Like a good poem, the story's meaning is ambiguous, and as interesting for what it is as for what it is not. Long after its surprising last line, the reader is left to ponder the real meanings of Yvonne's troubled journey into self-knowledge." - Nick DiMartino, Shelf Awareness

The information about The Lovers shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Linda G. (Walnut Creek, CA)

Turkey's 'Lovers'
There's a certain genre in fiction; the 'woman traveling alone in foreign country when things start to go wrong' story. Though it's been done many times before, (we've all read one), not every writer can capture that feeling of isolation, that sense of impending doom and suspense that is almost Graham Greenish.
Vendela Vida has nailed it with her 50 something, widowed protagonist Yvonne. From the moment her plane touches down in a small airport in Turkey, she immediately suspects she's been 'duped' with the vacation house she's leased.
From there the novel takes off, pulling you along by a thread, not knowing which direction you're going. With sparkling prose, and just the right amount of suspense, Vida takes you not at all where you may have thought, but gives a satisfying resolution all the same.

Marion S. (Los Angeles, CA)

The Lovers
I really enjoyed reading this book and couldn't, in fact, put it down. The author vividly captures the subtle images of Turkey, and the bond that exists between husband and wife, and mother and daughter. I would recommend it to all women, mothers, and daughters alike who have at one time, questioned their role as parents and wives and believe that hope can be redeemed.

Carrie L. (Albany, NY)

A beautiful, complex journey
Vida's prose enchanted me from the first page. The story follows Yvonne, a widow and history teacher as she takes a trip (alone) to Datca, Turkey. Although Yvonne is a generation older than I am, I instantly connected with her. The complexity and depths Vida managed to explore in only 200 truly astonished me. This book would be ideal for book clubs: it's short enough no one should have trouble finding time to read it, it's filled with rich, luminous prose, and it's deceptively delicate plot and pacing provide ample topics for discussion.

SallyAnn

A journey
This book will take you on a journey through the mist of truth, whole truth, and the half-truth of Yvonne’s life. After her husband’s sudden death she will travel to Turkey, recreating the memory of the joyous times of their honeymoon. It is there she will meet her landlord as she has rented his mistress’s home, his wife who is just a little curious, and a young boy whom she befriends.
I liked this book and the pace and rhythm of the writing did not lag.
Anyone who has lost someone close to them will understand her meandering and confusion along with a quiet strength. The selfishness that prevails as you are afraid you will lose YOU and because you do not quite know who you are.
It seems the author has an acute knowledge of this purgatory.

Randi E. (Walnut Creek, CA)

The paralysis of grief
In "The Lovers", the main character Yvonne is on a trip to Turkey, her first travel since her husband Peter's death two years ago. This story is a study of grief, and Vida does a very good job of conveying Yvonne's erratic emotions. It seemed that Yvonne felt she was under a microscope, and her insecurities color her experiences and relationships in Turkey, creating a character who seemed perpetually on edge, and exhausted by self-doubt.

Kathleen L. (Buffalo, NY)

The Lovers by Vendela Vida
We are treated to three themes in The Lovers;the widow reflecting on her life,husband and children,The woman alone in a strange culture, and descriptions of the exotic place in Turkey that she visits. The beautiful scenery and luxurious house are combined with her feeling of isolation. The story is gripping, although slightly marred by examples of "fine writing"

...15 more reader reviews

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Vendela Vida is the author of the critically acclaimed novels And Now You Can Go, Girls on the Verge and Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name. A founding coeditor of The Believer magazine, she lives with her husband and daughter in northern California.

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