The Making of June

( 2 )

Overview

At first, June appears to be the ideal California girl - blond hair, blue eyes, a production assistant at a film company, and married to a hot property about to get his doctorate - but she abandons her home and job to follow her husband to Bulgaria. Within a month of their arrival, June turns thirty and her husband leaves her for a young local girl. As difficult as it is for her to be without him and virtually friendless in a country on the verge of civil war, June doesn't run home. She drinks too much, falls ...

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Overview

At first, June appears to be the ideal California girl - blond hair, blue eyes, a production assistant at a film company, and married to a hot property about to get his doctorate - but she abandons her home and job to follow her husband to Bulgaria. Within a month of their arrival, June turns thirty and her husband leaves her for a young local girl. As difficult as it is for her to be without him and virtually friendless in a country on the verge of civil war, June doesn't run home. She drinks too much, falls into the arms of a Mafia kingpin, gets caught up in the revolution, and little by little revels in her new vision of the world outside the American periscope. She survives and learns that loss can be an opportunity and that loneliness gives a person time to change her life.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Ward does a masterful job of delineating political complexes while creating characters painfully real in their imperfections and humanity.
Publishers Weekly
Filmmaker and first-time novelist Ward transplants a shiny, young California couple to the grim, fledgling democratic Bulgarian capital of Sofia to scrutinize their wilting affections in this brave though somewhat spotty romantic saga. Through flashbacks and e-mail exchanges with friends in Los Angeles, the sad tale of 29-year-old film agent June Carver emerges: she has left her glamorous work to join Ethan, her husband of eight years, who is in Sofia to research a scholarly book on Bulgarian mores. June rashly confesses to a brief infidelity while Ethan was traveling, and he reacts by immediately taking up with Nevena, a 22-year-old Bulgarian maid he's had his eye on. June, who has never had to fend for herself, then falls for Chavdar, a suave, shady businessman (he doesn't carry a gun, but his five bodyguards do) who strong-arms her into an affair, then secures for her a new apartment and job through his mafia contacts. While Ethan and the impoverished, Muslim-born Nevena are traveling the bleak, dangerous countryside gathering research for his project and June is being lavishly feted and drugged by Chavdar, the country's economy collapses and the forces of democracy demand change. Through exemplary characters that represent the various factions, Ward offers a convincing if sometimes academic explanation of Balkan life in the late 1990s, though her core story is less satisfying. In the end, June and Ethan seem utterly ill-suited, especially after their respective unsavory choices in lovers, and their brash, plucky Americanism grates against the lusterless backdrop of Balkan severity. This novel offers a curious, original choice of setting for a love story, and Ward renders it with skill. Agent, Douglas Stewart. (May 13) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
June Carver leaves her successful job as a film production assistant and her home in Los Angeles to follow her husband, Ethan, to Bulgaria where he will finish work on his Ph.D. Not long after their arrival, June begins to feel lonely as her husband travels throughout the country doing research. One little infidelity later, June finds Ethan outraged and unforgiving. Following his own skewed logic, Ethan acts upon the attraction he's felt for a young Bulgarian maid named Nevena, whose history and family are fraught with tragedy and despair. Against a backdrop of Eastern European political turmoil, poverty, depressed living conditions, and an inflationary economy, love affairs and relationships undergo a similar upheaval. Aasne Vigesaa breathes depth and emotion into the voice of each character, but she soars when narrating the Bulgarian tongue. She does such an exceptional job with the Bulgarian characters that it is their stories that seem to be the more urgent and compelling. Ward's authentic voice tells a haunting yet true tale about the world that Bulgarians inhabit, the courage of their souls, and of those who support them. Highly recommended for public libraries.-Gloria Maxwell, Penn Valley Community Coll., Kansas City, MO Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A first novel, based on Ward's experience living in the Balkans during the upheavals of the late 1990s, combines two love stories: an American falls in love with a Bulgarian woman, while his wife falls in love with Bulgaria itself. June and Ethan Carver come from Los Angeles to Sofia so that Ethan can complete his doctoral thesis. Initially, 30-year-old June hates and resents the unsophisticated, uncomfortable world she's landed in and sends smart-aleck e-mails to friends and family. But her secret guilt over a brief affair back in California pushes her to stay in Sofia for Ethan's sake. Meanwhile, Ethan meets Nevena, a Bulgarian woman working as a maid for June's American friend Roxanne. When June spills the beans about her indiscretion, Ethan's sense of betrayal sends him into Nevena's arms. Nevena, however, is not your standard issue "other woman." A Muslim, she has survived rape and the murder of her parents' by Bulgarian nationalists. Despite snags caused by cultural misunderstandings, Ethan and Nevena's romance deepens. With her, Ethan becomes the loving, generous man he's unable to be with June, who, with her boundless capacity for self-destructiveness, falls into an affair with a local mafioso named Chavdar. The e-mails to and from America offer up a counterpoint to the charged energy of the growing political and economic unrest that have swept up June and Ethan. June's interest in gossip from home fades as she becomes involved in the struggles of the local Bulgarians she's befriended, particularly her aging language tutor. While an enlightened June tries to extricate herself from the increasingly dangerous liaison with Chavdar, whose acts of kindness come with a high price,Nevena's sense of responsibility to her younger sister draws her toward dangerous dealings with Chavdar's henchmen. A world and time brought vividly to life, and romantic to boot. Ward does a masterful job of delineating political complexities while creating characters painfully real in their imperfections and humanity.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593351151
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 6/10/2004
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.34 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Ward has a Masters in Screenwriting from UCLA, and her film "Strange Habit," starring Joey Lauren Adams (of "Chasing Amy" fame), was an Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival and the first place Grand Jury Prize winner at the Aspen Film Festival. She is currently living in Sofia, where she is working on a project for her Fulbright Scholarship until the fall of this year, while writing a screenplay for Millennium Films at the same time.
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Customer Reviews

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( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2004

    A fascinating chronicle of the late 90-s in Bulgaria

    It is difficult to capture all the merrit of the Making...For me, as a Bulgarian, currently living in the US, this is a real validation of my past experience. The tallent of Annie Ward has registered in a reliable yet beautiful form all aspects of the upheaval in my country at that time through the eyes of a Californian filmmaker who followed her husband in Sofia. It is not the challenges of a sophisticated lifestile meeting the poverty and despair, which makes the heroine strong and helps her become a thriver, but the ability to see through the facade, to change and to love in the grim post-communist ambiance. Thank you, Annie, for a true and caring portrait of my country and its recent history, and thank ou for creating another unforgetacble character of a real woman.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2004

    The best story yet

    In reading The Making of June, I found myself captivated with every word that I read. The story of the people and life in Bulgaria has given me something that no other book has. Annie Ward has done a marvelous job in depicting the lives and the scenery of this dark and cold country. With every single turn of the page, I found myself not being able to put down the book only to find out what was going to happen. I recommend this book for any mature reader. It is one that you will enjoy and remember always. MQ *****+

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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