A Season in the West

A Season in the West

by Piers Paul Read

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set in London, Read's latest novel is a morality tale reminiscent of his memorable A Married Man . Defecting from Czechoslovakia, writer Josef Birek is taken under the wing of Laura Morton, the wife of a wealthy banker, who works part-time as a translator at a foundation for dissident emigres. Shallow, discontented Laura sees her opportunity: she introduces the naive, idealistic Birek to her friends and literary contacts, invites him to move into her home and eventually begins an affair with the overwhelmed young man. Lionized by London's sophisticated social set, Birek finds himself financially and spiritually enslaved, while Laura becomes obsessed by the liaison. Basking in her self-importance and convinced that she is being very kind to Birek, she cynically exploits him. A full cast of witty and well-drawn supporting characters form the backdrop of Reid's biting comedy of manners, in which the momentum of Birek's brief celebrity and inevitable disillusionment is conveyed in a lean, spare prose that misses nothing. (Apr . )
Library Journal - Library Journal
Laura Morton, the bored wife of a London banker, has reached the age where she needs to dabble in either work or romance. The Comenius Foundation, which employs her as a translator, promotes Czech dissident writers; and when it (implausibly) sponsors her discovery, Josef Birek, in his application for asylum in Britain, she becomes his lover. The development of the liaison, and the many entanglements that ensue, are skillfully put together, but the story of the wide-eyed Slav adrift in the wicked West has been done before. The variation here is that Birek's childlike reactions come from his being barely more than a child in age. Read's satire is of the patented English variety, where all plot developments spring from race, class, and sex enmity. This genre has loyal adherents, who can pass over the unrelenting bigotry. Read also has name-recognition value from his best-seller Alive: A History of the Andes Survivors .-- Rob Schmieder, Boston

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Random House Publishing Group
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General Fiction Series

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