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Beginner's Greek: A Novel

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Beginner's Greek: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9780316021555
ISBN10: 0316021555
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When Peter Russell finally meets the woman of his dreams he falls as madly in love as you can on a flight from New York to LA. Her name is Holly. She's achingly pretty with strawberry-blonde hair, and reads Thomas Mann for pleasure. She gives Peter her phone number on a page of The Magic Mountain, but in his room that night Peter finds the page is inexplicably, impossibly, enragingly...gone.

So begins the immensely entertaining story of Peter and his unrequited love for his best friend's girl; of Charlotte and her less-than-perfect marriage to a man in love with someone else; of Jonathan and his wicked and fateful debauchery; and of Holly, the impetus for it all. Along the way, there's the evil boss, the desirable temptress, miscommunications, misrepresentations, fiendish behavior, letters gone astray, and ultimately, an ending in which every character gets his due.

Both incisive and wonderfully funny, this is a brilliantly understated comedy of manners in which love lost is found again.

Review:

"The two young professionals of Collins's polished debut, Holly and Peter, meet on a flight bound from New York to L.A. They tacitly understand they are soul mates, and she invites him to dinner, but Peter soon discovers that he has lost the number Holly wrote on a page torn from Mann's The Magic Mountain. With Peter's financial career and New York society as a mundane backdrop, years pass and Holly ends up married to Jonathan, a successful author and womanizer — and, conveniently, Peter's best friend. Still aching for his one-time seatmate, Peter marries Charlotte, a dull Francophile, because it 'made sense.' Charlotte, of course, is also in love with someone else — a former flame, Maximilien-Francois-Marie-Isidore. At Peter and Charlotte's wedding, Jonathan is struck by lightning, precipitating an endless series of events that changes the lives of family, friends and lovers alike — including Peter's boss and Charlotte's ex-stepmother. Former Time editor Collins, 48, writes as if fully aware that anyone who saw any one of a thousand other romantic comedies will find the plot familiar: he plays romantic comedy clichs with an expert coolness. Anyone for whom chick lit is a guilty pleasure will find the tone here multiple notches above the usual fare." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"James Collins' debut relies on a stunning number of familiar tropes....But he makes magic of it all by infusing those would-be clichés with so much old-school charm that you want to believe, and with so much patient detail that you actually can. (Grade: A-)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"Despite the contemporary setting, Collins's fiction debut has all the traits of a 19th-century romance....Jane Austen fans will feel right at home. Recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"Part fable, part farce, a preposterously plotted yet ultimately charming debut novel....If you loved The Graduate, you'll like this." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"James Collins has written a romantic, funny and insightful page turner about love in modern times, missed opportunities and the wheel of fate (with a blow-out) that is so engaging and real, you will find it impossible to put down." Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Lucia, Lucia and Big Stone Gap

Synopsis:

When Peter Russell finally meets the woman of his dreams, he falls as madly in love as you can on a flight from New York to LA. Her name is Holly. She's achingly pretty with strawberry-blonde hair, and reads Thomas Mann for pleasure. She gives Peter her phone number on a page of The Magic Mountain, but in his room that night Peter finds the page is inexplicably, impossibly, enragingly...gone.

Synopsis:

Peter Russell finally meets the woman of his dreams, but in his room that night Peter discovers the paper on which she wrote her phone number is inexplicably gone. Both incisive and wonderfully funny, this is a brilliantly understated comedy of manners in which love lost is found again.

Synopsis:

Is love at first sight possible or just an old-fashioned romantic idea? And what if, to further complicate things, you meet the love of your life and then lose her phone number? Then what if, after the impossible happens and you find her again, she's now about to marry a roguish lothario who is also your best friend? The complications don't end there for Peter Russell, the winning hero of James Collins' charming, generous, and romantic first novel. Part modern-day Jane Austen, part Tom Wolfe, Beginner's Greek is a romantic comedy of the highest order, with characters who are perfectly, charmingly real as they swerve and stumble from fairy tale to social satire and back again.

About the Author

James Collins writes for The New Yorker and has been an editor at both Time and Spy Magazine. A former Little, Brown editorial assistant, he ives in Virginia with his family.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Jonathan, April 8, 2008 (view all comments by Jonathan)
Peter Russell is an incurable romantic who wrestles against all the bizarre circumstances conspiring to keep him from his one true love, Holly. Beginner's Greek is a book that doesn't take itself (or its subjects) too seriously, and is all the more enjoyable for that. In the end, just about everybody (except the truly malicious characters) gets a happy ending, but the road to get there is pretty rough at times.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Cathy from Olympia, Washington, March 20, 2008 (view all comments by Cathy from Olympia, Washington)
Peter is kind, hardworking, honorable, a romantic, and an an all-around good egg. He meets the woman of his dreams on a long flight from New York to L.A., and better yet, she seems attracted to him too. Neither has a spare piece of paper, so Holly tears the title page out (eek!) from her copy of Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, writing her name and phone number on it. The page is lost, and Peter contrives to somehow muddle though life without Holly. This life altering event all happens, by the way, in the prologue. Peter and Holly's paths do meet again, years later, but further complications (namely Holly's involvement with Peter's best friend) keep them apart as a couple. For some reason I kept picturing Peter as a downtrodden Woody Allen character, though admittedly Peter isn't lusting after women half his age... Anyway, sometimes the book got a bit on the wordy side, but unexpected twists and turns and the desire to see what happened with Peter and Holly kept me reading. When the book did end, I was mostly satisified, though I had hoped for a bit more about some of the secondary characters. Overall an enjoyable read.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780316021555
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Collins, James
Publisher:
Back Bay Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Married people
Subject:
Middle class
Subject:
Adultery
Subject:
New york (n.y.)
Subject:
Love stories
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Publication Date:
January 9, 2008
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
9.46x6.38x1.40 in. 1.54 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » General

Beginner's Greek: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.95 In Stock
Product details 464 pages Little Brown and Company - English 9780316021555 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The two young professionals of Collins's polished debut, Holly and Peter, meet on a flight bound from New York to L.A. They tacitly understand they are soul mates, and she invites him to dinner, but Peter soon discovers that he has lost the number Holly wrote on a page torn from Mann's The Magic Mountain. With Peter's financial career and New York society as a mundane backdrop, years pass and Holly ends up married to Jonathan, a successful author and womanizer — and, conveniently, Peter's best friend. Still aching for his one-time seatmate, Peter marries Charlotte, a dull Francophile, because it 'made sense.' Charlotte, of course, is also in love with someone else — a former flame, Maximilien-Francois-Marie-Isidore. At Peter and Charlotte's wedding, Jonathan is struck by lightning, precipitating an endless series of events that changes the lives of family, friends and lovers alike — including Peter's boss and Charlotte's ex-stepmother. Former Time editor Collins, 48, writes as if fully aware that anyone who saw any one of a thousand other romantic comedies will find the plot familiar: he plays romantic comedy clichs with an expert coolness. Anyone for whom chick lit is a guilty pleasure will find the tone here multiple notches above the usual fare." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "James Collins' debut relies on a stunning number of familiar tropes....But he makes magic of it all by infusing those would-be clichés with so much old-school charm that you want to believe, and with so much patient detail that you actually can. (Grade: A-)"
"Review" by , "Despite the contemporary setting, Collins's fiction debut has all the traits of a 19th-century romance....Jane Austen fans will feel right at home. Recommended."
"Review" by , "Part fable, part farce, a preposterously plotted yet ultimately charming debut novel....If you loved The Graduate, you'll like this."
"Review" by , "James Collins has written a romantic, funny and insightful page turner about love in modern times, missed opportunities and the wheel of fate (with a blow-out) that is so engaging and real, you will find it impossible to put down."
"Synopsis" by , When Peter Russell finally meets the woman of his dreams, he falls as madly in love as you can on a flight from New York to LA. Her name is Holly. She's achingly pretty with strawberry-blonde hair, and reads Thomas Mann for pleasure. She gives Peter her phone number on a page of The Magic Mountain, but in his room that night Peter finds the page is inexplicably, impossibly, enragingly...gone.
"Synopsis" by , Peter Russell finally meets the woman of his dreams, but in his room that night Peter discovers the paper on which she wrote her phone number is inexplicably gone. Both incisive and wonderfully funny, this is a brilliantly understated comedy of manners in which love lost is found again.
"Synopsis" by , Is love at first sight possible or just an old-fashioned romantic idea? And what if, to further complicate things, you meet the love of your life and then lose her phone number? Then what if, after the impossible happens and you find her again, she's now about to marry a roguish lothario who is also your best friend? The complications don't end there for Peter Russell, the winning hero of James Collins' charming, generous, and romantic first novel. Part modern-day Jane Austen, part Tom Wolfe, Beginner's Greek is a romantic comedy of the highest order, with characters who are perfectly, charmingly real as they swerve and stumble from fairy tale to social satire and back again.
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