Thursday, January 17, 2008

Pg. 69: James Collins' "Beginner's Greek"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: James Collins' Beginner's Greek.

About the book, from the publisher's website:
When Peter Russell finally meets the woman of his dreams he falls as madly in love as you can on a flight from New York to LA. Her name is Holly. She's achingly pretty with strawberry-blonde hair, and reads Thomas Mann for pleasure. She gives Peter her phone number on a page of The Magic Mountain, but in his room that night Peter finds the page is inexplicably, impossibly, enragingly ... gone.

So begins the immensely entertaining story of Peter and his unrequited love for his best friend's girl; of Charlotte and her less-than-perfect marriage to a man in love with someone else; of Jonathan and his wicked and fateful debauchery; and of Holly, the impetus for it all. Along the way, there's the evil boss, the desirable temptress, miscommunications, misrepresentations, fiendish behavior, letters gone astray, and ultimately, an ending in which every character gets his due.

Both incisive and wonderfully funny, this is a brilliantly understated comedy of manners in which love lost is found again. 'James Collins has written a romantic, funny and insightful page turner about love in modern times, missed opportunities and the wheel of fate (with a blow-out!) that is so engaging and real, you will find it impossible to put down. Peter Russell is an everyman filled with longing, lust and good sense. I promise you will root for him as fate throws him curves aplenty on his path to true love.
Among the praise for Beginner's Greek:

"Mr. Collins' character sketches are nicely Louis Auchincloss … with the requisite amount of Jane Austen to please the gals, enough light-touched financial lingo to hook i-bankers … and a conscience sufficiently informed by history and irony…"
--New York Observer

"Collins makes magic of it all....A-"
--Entertainment Weekly

"Anyone for whom chick lit is a guilty pleasure will find the tone here multiple notches above the usual fare."
--Publishers Weekly

"Collins, a former Time editor who has also contributed to The New Yorker, writes with spare, graceful style, and Peter Russell exudes an earnest everyman appeal that will make many a reader wish he could spring out of the pages. Beginner's Greek is one of those books that both perfectly satisfies and leaves you wanting more."
--Book Page

"To enjoy it, you have to believe in fate. Pairing it with your next flight might do some good, too. And speaking of soaring, this is Collins’s first novel. Call it beginner’s luck."

Read an excerpt from Beginner's Greek and learn more about the novel at the publisher's website.

James Collins writes for The New Yorker and has been an editor at both Time and Spy magazines.

The Page 69 Test: Beginner's Greek.

--Marshal Zeringue