Foreign Parts

Overview

What begins as a driving holiday in Northern France for two Scotswomen turns into a caustic and funny account of dysfunctional relationships - both between men and women and between women friends. Cassie and Rona - in their late thirties, both single and childless - are on each other's nerves from the moment they cross the Channel: Cassie is testy and cynical, Rona patient and plodding. Both are self-conscious of the fact that they seem to fit the stereotype of two "spinsters" linked by loneliness, and ...
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Overview

What begins as a driving holiday in Northern France for two Scotswomen turns into a caustic and funny account of dysfunctional relationships - both between men and women and between women friends. Cassie and Rona - in their late thirties, both single and childless - are on each other's nerves from the moment they cross the Channel: Cassie is testy and cynical, Rona patient and plodding. Both are self-conscious of the fact that they seem to fit the stereotype of two "spinsters" linked by loneliness, and consequently rebel against the notion that a woman needs a man to feel "complete." Faced with the dilemma of "fancying men and not liking them very much," the women ponder the alternatives as they endure one tourist nightmare after another.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[S]harp, funny, tender." -- PW

Dalkey Archive Press

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``Cassie and Rona/Rona and Cassie have eaten sandwiches in Amsterdam and Gouda, Copenhagen, York, Warsaw, Munich and Lerwick... It's what we always do. We get no richer, no more sophisticated, no more included.'' Cassie and Rona, two 40-ish, single Scotswomen take a trip to France. Simple enough. But what Galloway uncovers through following their often hellish tour is the rawness of an individual out of context, the need for the familiar and the facts of friendship. Capturing the tawdriness and petty humiliations possible en route, Galloway's tumultuous, evocative prose is interrupted by the banal exhortations of a guide book (``Car drivers should NOT MISS the opportunity of driving through the beautiful, winding roads of the Layon Valley'') and by Cassie's slide show as she describes photographs of past trips and the men who dominated them. Ultimately, however, travel is a backdrop for a sharp, funny, tender but never maudlin dissection of what it means to be friends. It's not that Rona and Cassie don't get on each others nerves, but there is equality, caring, everyday kindness, patience and loyalty that neither woman has found with men. ``You only get the one shot at things and men use up too much energy,'' says Rona. ``Dependencies build up, then the power games: the moral blackmail, the intellectual blackmail, the guilt, the guilt-it goes on forever.'' (Sept.)
Library Journal
Cassie and Rona, two middle-aged, single, and spinsterish Scotswomen, take a driving tour of northern France. Rona drives and Cassie does most of the narration as they endure one mishap after the other. Cassie's lack of sentimentality allows her to notice all the grotesque details in such a humorous way that it is impossible to romanticize the trip. Very different personalities, Cassie and Rona often get on each other's nerves-yet they are good at taking care of each other when the need arises. While wondering what it would be like to be traveling with a man, Cassie also recalls less than satisfactory past experiences and decides she doesn't like men very much. Critically acclaimed in Great Britain, this book will appeal primarily to female readers of serious literary fiction. For public libraries. [For another novel with a similar plot and theme, see Pagan Kennedy's Spinsters, LJ 6/15/95.-Ed.]-Ann Irvine, Montgomery Cty. P.L., Md.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564780829
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1st American ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 262
  • Product dimensions: 5.59 (w) x 8.57 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Janice Galloway was born in Ayrshire. Her first novel, The Trick is to Keep Breathing, was published in 1990, won the MIND/Allen Lane Book of the Year and was short-listed for the Whitbread First Novel. She lives in Glasgow.

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