Foreign Bodies: Book summary and reviews of Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick

Foreign Bodies

A Novel

by Cynthia Ozick

Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick X
Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick
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About this book

Book Summary

Cynthia Ozick is one of America's literary treasures. For her sixth novel, she set herself a brilliant challenge: to retell the story of Henry James's The Ambassadors - the work he considered his best - but as a photographic negative, that is the plot is the same, the meaning is reversed. At the core of the story is Bea Nightingale, a fiftyish divorced schoolteacher whose life has been on hold during the many years since her brief marriage. When her estranged, difficult brother asks her to leave New York for Paris to retrieve a nephew she barely knows, she becomes entangled in the lives of her brother’s family and even, after so long, her ex-husband. Every one of them is irrevocably changed by the events of just a few months in that fateful year.

Traveling from New York to Paris to Hollywood, aiding and abetting her nephew and niece while waging a war of letters with her brother, facing her ex-husband and finally shaking off his lingering sneers from decades past, Bea Nightingale is a newly liberated divorcee who inadvertently wreaks havoc on the very people she tries to help.

Foreign Bodies may be Cynthia Ozick's greatest and most virtuosic novel of all, as it transforms Henry James's prototype into a brilliant, utterly original, new American classic.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Ozick’s dramatic inquiry into the malignance of betrayal; exile literal and emotional; the many tentacles of anti-Semitism; and the balm and aberrance of artistic obsession is brilliantly nuanced and profoundly disquieting." - Booklist

"Starred Review. This is superb, dazzling fiction. Ozick richly observes and lovingly crafts each character, and every sentence is a tribute to her masterful command of language." - Kirkus Reviews

This information about Foreign Bodies was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Malca

Must Read
Ozick is a brilliant writer & Foreign Bodies is a "must read" for book clubs.

CApostle

Plot? What plot?
I found this book virtually unreadable - and wondered what it was about with each turn of the page. It didn't get better, and my question (what is the plot?) was never answered. If this is an example of Cynthia Ozick's writing I will be reading no further.
I'm trying to find book club discussion questions, but they are as elusive as the plot of Foreign Bodies.

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Author Information

Cynthia Ozick Author Biography

Photo Credit: Marion Ettlinger

Cynthia Ozick was born in Manhattan and has lived in the New York City area most of her life. She attended Hunter College High School, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from New York University with honors in English, and holds a master’s degree from Ohio State University. She lives in Westchester County and is married to Bernard Hallote, a retired lawyer. Their daughter, Rachel S. Hallote, an archaeologist, is the director of the Jewish studies program at the State University of New York at Purchase.

She is acclaimed for her many works of fiction and criticism. She was a finalist for the National Book Award for her previous novel, The Puttermesser Papers, which was named one of the top ten books of the year by the New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, and the Los Angeles ...

... Full Biography
Author Interview

Name Pronunciation
Cynthia Ozick: OH-zik

Other books by Cynthia Ozick at BookBrowse
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