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 Timeeditor 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 clichés with an expert coolness. Anyone for whom chick lit is a guilty pleasure will find the tone here multiple notches above the usual fare. (Jan.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Beginner's Greek: A Novelby James Collins
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,/i>… See more details below
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.
"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. Peter Russell is an everyman filled with longing, lust and good sense. I promise you will root for him as fate throws him curves aplenty on his path to true love. BEGINNER'S GREEK and Peter Russell are keepers."
-- Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Lucia, Lucia and Big Stone Gap
Peter Russell, an up-and-coming financial trader, is a romantic at heart. As he boards a transcontinental flight to Los Angeles, he is eager to see who will sit next to him, fully expecting-if it's a female-to find his true love. When the captivating Holly takes the seat, Peter is convinced he was right. Imagine his dismay after parting when he loses her phone number and realizes that he doesn't know her last name. So begins this tale of star-crossed lovers and their circle of family and friends. Peter and Holly will each travel a perilous path over the years to come. Treacherous office politics, adulterous liaisons, and a host of fascinating characters round out the story. Despite the contemporary setting, Collins's fiction debut has all the traits of a 19th-century romance-an omniscient and sometimes playful narrator, elegant prose that meanders through the lush terrain of disparate lives, an occasionally arch but always dulcet tone, frequent flashbacks, characters whose minds are plumbed (the females are especially well sounded), sophisticated dialog, and a much-delayed but delightful resolution. Jane Austen fans will feel right at home. Recommended for public libraries.
"A romantic, funny, and insightful page-turner."Adriana Trigiani, author of Lucia, Lucia and Big Stone Gap
"Clever, romantic, and fun."Boston Globe
"Jane Austen fans will feel right at home."Library Journal
"A rare delight: a smart, elegant, madly romantic comedy with characters who seem perfectly, charmingly real."Kurt Andersen, author of Heyday
"A satire of modern love that will charm both sexes equally."Vanity Fair
"An unabashedly romantic début."The New Yorker
"Beginner's Greek is, from start to finish, delicious."New York Times Book Review
- Little, Brown and Company
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