Book Review: The Lovers – Vendela Vida

Title: The Lovers: A Novel
Author: Vendela Vida
ISBN: 9780060828394
Pages: 240
Release Date: June 27, 2010
Publisher: Ecco
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Summary:

Yvonne is a widow.  Her husband Peter was recently killed in a car accident and she is bereft.  She’s also noticed that she’s old all of a sudden, not the youthful woman she remembers.  Yvonne decides to go to Turkey for a few weeks, to visit the place where she and Robert honeymooned in order to capture some of the spirit of that lost time.  Upon arriving, she meets some interesting people and tries to get to know them, which has tragic repercussions Yvonne couldn’t have foreseen.

Review:

I loved Vendela Vida’s previous novel Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, so it was with excitement that I read her newest, The Lovers.  While The Lovers was interesting on its own terms and took advantage of Vida’s atmospheric writing, it didn’t quite live up to the mysterious nature of Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name.  The lack of that mystery really took away from The Lovers’ potential.

The Lovers is about Yvonne’s journey to understanding and acceptance, but it doesn’t come easily.  Yvonne is utterly alone, physically and emotionally.  Vida describes her isolation well.  As Yvonne reflects on the twists and turns her life has taken and the unique parts that make the whole of her identity, the reader sees him or herself in Yvonne.  Vida makes Yvonne’s struggle and emotions very easy to identify with and understand.

The ending of The Lovers is very strange.  While Vida ties some storylines up beautifully, others are left dangling, unaddressed and unresolved.  It seems too rushed, too abrupt.  The reader is left wondering what happened to the other characters in the novel, those that Yvonne chose to strike up a friendship with.  A more fleshed out ending (and a more developed novel in general) would have been much more satisfying.

The Lovers is an incredibly contemplative novel.  There is little driving the novel forward.  Instead, it moves along at its own reflective pace.  It’s very well-written, showcasing Vida’s immense talent and creating beautiful prose to tell a story and convey emotion.  It’s a moving piece of literary fiction, albeit with some flaws.  Even so, I’ll definitely be picking up Vida’s next novel.

Comments

  1. Well, that is definitely a tribute to the author if you would still be willing to read more of her work. Appreciate the honest review of this one…

  2. Well, that is definitely a tribute to the author if you would still be willing to read more of her work. Appreciate the honest review of this one…

  3. I have just reviewed this book as well, but can’t honestly say that I liked it as much as you did. For me, the story was very frustrating, and Yvonne was sort of a strange bird. I do agree that Vida has an interesting writing style though, and I am going to have to give her another try!

  4. I have just reviewed this book as well, but can’t honestly say that I liked it as much as you did. For me, the story was very frustrating, and Yvonne was sort of a strange bird. I do agree that Vida has an interesting writing style though, and I am going to have to give her another try!

  5. I think I’ll have to be in the right mood to read this one – it sounds a little slow for me.

  6. I think I’ll have to be in the right mood to read this one – it sounds a little slow for me.

  7. I think I’ll try Vida’s previous, LET NORTHERN LIGHTS ERASE YOUR NAME, since you liked that one more. Though I this this jacket is beautiful.

  8. I think I’ll try Vida’s previous, LET NORTHERN LIGHTS ERASE YOUR NAME, since you liked that one more. Though I this this jacket is beautiful.

  9. The Lovers is one of my favorite reads this year. I wasn’t wild about the ending when I first read it, but after having a little distance from it, I thought it was lovely. I understand how it could be unsatisfying. I haven’t read any of Vida’s other novels, but I’m looking forward to them!

  10. The Lovers is one of my favorite reads this year. I wasn’t wild about the ending when I first read it, but after having a little distance from it, I thought it was lovely. I understand how it could be unsatisfying. I haven’t read any of Vida’s other novels, but I’m looking forward to them!

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