“Interesting women – are we ever going to be free of them? I meet them everywhere these days, now that there is no longer such a thing as an interesting man…” So drawls the narrator of one of Andrea Lee’s jewel-like stories, herself, undeniably, an Interesting Woman. These gleaming, sensual stories bend a wit worthy of Colette’s on a demimonde of expatriates, teenage ‘pocket divas’, girlfriends, wives, mistresses and daughters. Each focuses on a moment of seduction, of self-discovery, where the mocking detachment of the outsider is briefly pulled aside. An American, chained by her Italian husband’s belief in her conventional wholesomeness, surprises him with two costly call girls for his birthday; but her pleasure in her own daring remains wistfully private. A New England beauty has a brief love affair, alternately lyrical and perverse, with a European prince more than twice her age. A woman, having earlier left her husband ‘in a moment of epic distraction’, has his new ex to stay, changing forever their understanding of the man they both married.
‘Interesting Women’ teases the reader with ironic glimpses of the charged games of sexual power between men and women, and women with each other. It is that delicious rarity: a summer read of sophisticated intelligence, whose gorgeous images will linger long.
Reviews of Interesting Women
‘Andrea Lee is the real thing. There is nothing more to say.’ Philip Roth
‘Andrea Lee’s stories are sly and sexy, sophisticated retellings of standoffs between traditional opposites. Her writing is beautifully controlled.’ Sunday Times
‘The heroines of Andrea Lee’s ‘Interesting Women’ live up to their billing. They cuckold their Puritan ancestry by sleeping – casually, bemusedly – with European princes twice their age. They offer hookers as birthday gifts to their Italian husbands. On vacation in Madagascar, they slap native girls who mess with their men…It’s this voice – a once-cherished concubine writing bitchy postcards from a fabulous self-exile – that makes this book a decadent holiday well worth taking.’ Elle
‘…each of these finely tuned, exquisitely written tales has the interest and substance of a novel…Lee is ironic, profound and a wonderful find.’ Daily Mail
‘…sophisticated and intelligent, fascinating and amusing. An entertaining and undemanding read.’ Time Out
‘A stylish, sensual, summer read.’ Sunday Express
‘Told elegantly, with an enjoyable arch tone, this is an intelligent look at the games we play with others and ourselves.’ The Times
‘Like the author’s formula for the perfect cappuccino (which should always include the “slight taste of mysery”), these shrewd stories of ephemeral liaisons and global friendships leave a bitter aftertaste in their deceptively frothy wake.’ Independent