Synopses & Reviews
From the acclaimed author of the 2007 New York Times
Notable Book Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name
comes a stunning novel about the love between husbands and wives, mothers and children.
Twenty-eight years ago, Peter and Yvonne honeymooned in the beautiful coastal village of Datça, Turkey. Now Yvonne is a widow, her twin children grown. Hoping to immerse herself in memories of a happier time — as well as sand and sea— Yvonne returns to Datça. But her plans for a restorative week in Turkey are quickly complicated. Instead of comforting her, her memories begin to trouble her. Her vacation rental's landlord and his bold, intriguing wife — who share a curious marital arrangement — become constant uninvited visitors, in and out of the house.
Overwhelmed by the past and unexpectedly dislocated by the environment, Yvonne clings to a newfound friendship with Ahmet, a local boy who makes his living as a shell collector. With Ahmet as her guide, Yvonne gains new insight into the lives of her own adult children, and she finally begins to enjoy the shimmering sea and relaxed pace of the Turkish coast. But a devastating accident upends her delicate peace and throws her life into chaos — and her sense of self into turmoil.
With the crystalline voice and psychological nuance for which her work has been so celebrated, Vendela Vida has crafted another unforgettable heroine in a stunningly beautiful and mysterious landscape.
"The overwrought latest from Vida (Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name) concerns itself with paradoxes of intimacy: isolation within a closely tied family and the unexpected affection between strangers from different cultures. Twenty-six years after her honeymoon in Data, Turkey, recently widowed Yvonne returns to the Turkish peninsula not to relive the early happy days of her marriage but 'to remember' them. Instead, she finds herself haunted by the many struggles she and her husband faced, above all the wedge driven between them by the antics of their alcoholic daughter, Aurelia. As Yvonne explores the town and its surrounding beaches, she starts to settle into her new identity as a widow and finds herself under a microscope as an American tourist traveling alone. A fast friendship with a young Turkish boy eases Yvonne's loneliness, but it also sparks the disapproval of several locals, leading to a climactic conversation and a quiet epiphany. It's a slow, self-involved story, nearly every page of which is marred by Vida's strained attempts to create high art. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"An elegant consideration of how death and distance tightens human connections — a big theme that Vida addresses with sure-footedness and charm." Kirkus Reviews
"Vida creates an atmosphere at once molten and chilling as she deftly exposes the wounding reverberations of timeless conflicts between men and women, parents and children, East and West, appearance and truth." Booklist
"Vendela Vida has written a riveting and suspenseful novel about an American woman’s voyage to self-discovery." Joyce Carol Oates
"Stunning. A masterful meditation on grief and love. The Lovers is a sensational novel from one of our finest writers at the height of her craft." Stephen Elliott, author of The Adderall Diaries
"Haunting....Vida, a co-founder and co-editor of literary magazine the Believer, has a gift for probing the workings of memory." Time Out New York
From the author of Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name comes a stunning novel about the love between husbands and wives, mothers and children.
“Vendela Vida has written a riveting and suspenseful novel about an American womans voyage to self-discovery.”
—Joyce Carol Oates
“Stunning. A masterful meditation on grief and love. The Lovers is a sensational novel from one of our finest writers at the height of her craft.”
—Stephen Elliott, author of The Adderall Diaries
In 2007, Vendela Vidas novel Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. With her new novel, The Lovers, former Kate Chopin Writing Award winner Vida tells a powerful and beautiful tale of a widow returning alone to the site of her honeymoon in Turkey, and her subsequent journeys through her past and her present.
About the Author
Vendela Vida is the author of And Now You Can Go and Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, both of which were New York Times Notable Books of the Year. She is a founding co-editor of the Believer magazine, and the editor of The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers. She lives in Northern California with her husband and children.