Foreign Bodies: A Novel

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Foreign Bodies: A Novel

by Cynthia Ozick

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | August 2, 2012 | Hardcover

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In her sixth novel, Cynthia Ozick retells the story of Henry James''sThe Ambassadorsas a photographic negative, retaining the plot but reversing the meaning.

Foreign Bodiestransforms Henry James''s prototype into a brilliant, utterly original, new American classic. At the core of the story is Bea Nightingale, a fiftyish divorced schoolteacher whose life has been on hold during the many years since her brief marriage. When her estranged, difficult brother asks her to leave New York for Paris to retrieve a nephew she barely knows, she becomes entangled in the lives of her brother''s family and even, after so long, her ex-husband. Every one of them is irrevocably changed by the events of just a few months in that fateful year. Traveling from New York to Paris to Hollywood, aiding and abetting her nephew and niece while waging a war of letters with her brother, facing her ex-husband and finally shaking off his lingering sneers from decades past, Bea Nightingale is a newly liberated divorcee who inadvertently wreaks havoc on the very people she tries to help.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.88 in

Published: August 2, 2012

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0547435576

ISBN - 13: 9780547435572

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– More About This Product –

Foreign Bodies: A Novel

by Cynthia Ozick

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.88 in

Published: August 2, 2012

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0547435576

ISBN - 13: 9780547435572

About the Book

For her sixth novel, Ozick set herself a brilliant challenge: to retell the story of Henry James's "The Ambassadors"--the work he considered his best--but as a photographic negative, that is the plot is the same, the meaning is reversed.

Read from the Book

1
July 23, 1952
Dear Marvin,

Well, I''m back. London was all right, Paris was terrible, and I never made it down to Rome. They say it''s the hottest summer they''ve had since before the war. And except for the weather, I''m afraid there''s not much else to report. The address you gave me-Julian left there about a week ago. It seems I just missed him by a few days. You wouldn''t have approved, a rooming house in a rundown neighborhood way out toward the edge of the city. I did the best I could to track him down-tried all the places you said he might be working at. His landlady when I inquired turned out to be a pure blank. All she had to offer was an inkling of a girlfriend. He took everything with him, apparently not much.

I''m returning your check. From the looks of where your son was living, he could certainly have used the $500. Sorry I couldn''t help more. I hope you and (especially) Margaret are well.

Yours,
Beatrice

From the Publisher

In her sixth novel, Cynthia Ozick retells the story of Henry James''sThe Ambassadorsas a photographic negative, retaining the plot but reversing the meaning.

Foreign Bodiestransforms Henry James''s prototype into a brilliant, utterly original, new American classic. At the core of the story is Bea Nightingale, a fiftyish divorced schoolteacher whose life has been on hold during the many years since her brief marriage. When her estranged, difficult brother asks her to leave New York for Paris to retrieve a nephew she barely knows, she becomes entangled in the lives of her brother''s family and even, after so long, her ex-husband. Every one of them is irrevocably changed by the events of just a few months in that fateful year. Traveling from New York to Paris to Hollywood, aiding and abetting her nephew and niece while waging a war of letters with her brother, facing her ex-husband and finally shaking off his lingering sneers from decades past, Bea Nightingale is a newly liberated divorcee who inadvertently wreaks havoc on the very people she tries to help.

About the Author

CYNTHIA OZICK is the author of numerous acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction. She is a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Man Booker International Prize. Her stories have won four O. Henry first prizes.

Editorial Reviews

"Ozick''s heady fiction springs from her deep critical involvement in literature, especially her fascination with Henry James, which emboldened her to lift the plot of his masterpiece, The Ambassadors, and recast it in a taut and flaying novel that is utterly her own..Ozick''s dramatic inquiry into the malignance of betrayal; exile literal and emotional; the many tentacles of anti-Semitism; and the balm and aberrance of artistic obsession is brilliantly nuanced and profoundly disquieting."-- Booklist , starred review From Kirkus : Julian Nachtigall, son of a tyrannical and imperious businessman, has gone to Paris but has shown no interest in returning home. While there, he links up with Lili, a Romanian expat about ten years his senior. Marvin, the father, is furious that Julian wants to waste his life playing around in nonserious matters (e.g., writing essays and observations of French life), so he sends his sister Bea (who''s Anglicized her name to Nightingale) to Paris to bring him to his senses as well as bring him home. Bea teaches English to high-school thugs who mock her love of Wordsworth and Keats, and Marvin has always held her in contempt for what in his eyes is her impractical and useless profession. Bea is complicit in tricking Marvin by sending Julian''s sister, Iris, to Paris instead. Iris is the apple of Marvin''s eye, a graduate student in chemistry and a promising scientist-in other words, all that Julian is not. But unbeknownst to Marvin, Iris is also happy
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