The Foreigners

The Foreigners

2.0 6
by Maxine Swann
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

A glittering, energetic novel about three women-each experiencing an awakening in the gloriously conflicted and sexy city of Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires is a city of Parisian affections and national anxiety, of amorous young lovers, seedy ports, flooded slums, and a dazzling social elite. Into this heady maze of contradiction and possibility enter two

Overview

A glittering, energetic novel about three women-each experiencing an awakening in the gloriously conflicted and sexy city of Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires is a city of Parisian affections and national anxiety, of amorous young lovers, seedy ports, flooded slums, and a dazzling social elite. Into this heady maze of contradiction and possibility enter two women: Daisy, an American divorcée; and Isolde, a beautiful, lonely Austrian. In Buenos Aires, Isolde finds that her blond European looks afford her entrée to the kind of elite, alluring social world she never would have had access to in her home country, but her ascension also sets her up for a long, surprising fall. Meanwhile, Daisy joins forces with Leonarda, a chameleonic Argentine with radical dreams of rebellion, who transfixes Daisy with her wild effervescence. Soon, Daisy is throwing off her American earnestness and engaging in a degree of passion, manipulation, and risk-taking in a way she never has before. Buenos Aires has allowed her to become someone else.

Against the throbbing backdrop of this shimmering and decadent city- almost a character in itself-Maxine Swann has created a stunning narrative of reawakened sensuality and compulsive desire that simultaneously explores with remarkable acuity themes of foreignness, displacement, and the trembling metamorphoses that arise from such states. From the award-winning, critically celebrated author of Flower Children, The Foreigners is a startlingly bold and original, unforgettable next novel.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Three women navigate modern life in Buenos Aires in Swann's elegant third novel (after Flower Children). Daisy, a lonely American divorcée with no direction, moves to the city at the suggestion of a friend. To fight the isolation, Daisy explores and encounters fascinating characters, like Gabriel, a medical student turned male gigolo ("the beautiful thing is that it annihilates the whole problem of desire," he says of his work) and Isolde, an Austrian émigré with a lust for social status. Daisy forms a mercurial friendship and an obsessive bond with Leonarda, a young Argentine involved in an underground society trying to create "a strategy of happiness" in order to "alleviate the anxiety of uncertainty" in the country. The city itself, attempting to recover from a recent economic crash, is locked in its own battle for identity and gives Daisy freedom to disappear and flourish anew, at least momentarily. Though the city invites inhabitants to lose themselves for a time, it can also confine those who wish to escape. Whether native or foreigner, each character is displaced and wrestles with the outcome. With lyricism and observational skill that recalls early Joan Didion, Swann brings Buenos Aires to life. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Swann, who won a passel of prizes for the story she expanded into the novel Flower Children, which in turn won some strong reviews and four stars from People, offers a new novel set in Buenos Aires. Three women open up like flowers in response to the city's atmosphere. Well worth checking.
Kirkus Reviews

The exotic (and erotic) aura of Buenos Aires leads Daisy, the narrator, into some murky personal and sexual encounters.

Thirty-five and at the end of a nine-year marriage, Daisy is looking for escape from her aimless life. When a friend helps her get a grant to do a waterworks study project in Argentina, Daisy leaps at the opportunity provided—even though she has no technical knowledge about or understanding of hydraulics. Instead, she uses the money to rent a seedy apartment and finds herself neighbors with a handsome gay gigolo. Daisy also desultorily puts up an ad offering English-speaking lessons and through this offer makes contact with Leonarda, a charismatic and domineering woman who quickly takes Daisy under her wing. (Leonarda doesn't even need English lessons but likes to consort with foreigners.) Also entering the volatile mix is Isolde, who's come to Buenos Aires from Austria and who hopes to make it in the tony art circles of the city. Leonarda loves to play mind games and has developed a scheme—or rather a kind of living theatre production—she calls the Master Plan. This includes crashing parties, thrusting herself into both high and low society and seductively incorporating Daisy into her manipulation of men and sexual relationships. In about equal measure, Daisy finds herself sexually attracted to and morally repelled by Leonarda. When a threesome begins to spin out of control, Daisy takes some time off to go to Uruguay and reflect on...well, how things are spinning out of control. She eventually reaches an equilibrium rather than an understanding of the force of nature that is Leonarda.

Beautifully written, sensual and seductive.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594488306
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
08/18/2011
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
8.32(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.96(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Swann, an American who has lived in Buenos Aires for the past decade, vividly evokes the city and its lively, diverse, and conflicted social landscape, from the denizens of posh hotels to the unfortunate poor living in the city’s slums. . . . Seductively hard to put down.”—The Boston Globe
 
“The three women in Maxine Swann’s The Foreigners hope to leave their worries behind by plunging into the wild glamour of Buenos Aires, but find even greater surprises when the stumble into the recesses of their own lives.”—W
 
“Post-crash Buenos Aires is the nourish setting of Maxine Swann’t The Foreigners, in which an untethered American divorcee dabbles in increasingly risky funny games with the help of a local provocateuse.”—Vogue
 
“The city of Buenos Aires dazzles in this novel about three women who find sex, adventure, and more sex in the Paris of South America.”—O, The Oprah Magazine
 
“The city of Buenos Aires dazzles in this novel about three women who find sex, adventure, and more sex in the Paris of South America.”—O, The Oprah Magazine
 
“Atmospheric, evocative literary fiction that ruminates on what it means and how it feels to be foreign.”—Booklist
 
“Whether native or foreigner, each character is displaced and wrestles with the outcome. With lyricism and observational skill that recalls early Joan Didion, Swann brings Buenos Aires to life.”—Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Beautifully written, sensual and seductive.”—Kirkus
 

Meet the Author

Maxine Swann is the author of Serious Girls and Flower Children, for which she received the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has also been awarded the Ploughshares' Cohen Award for best fiction of the year, an O. Henry Prize, and a Pushcart Prize, and her work has been included in The Best American Short Stories of 1998 and 2006. Swann, who has also lived in Paris and Pakistan, has been living in Buenos Aires since 2001.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Foreigners 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was in Argentina while trying to read this. Couldn't keep up an interest in this boring book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very misleading Overview for openers; and this followed by a rambling and voyeuristic tale of perverted female sexual behavior. Even the descriptive passages of Buenos Aires, possibly one of the most exciting and colorful cities in the hemisphere, fall flat. The story line, if one can call it that, was weak and lacked inspiration. Save your time and money - pass on this one.