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Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick

I've totally been slacking in blogging my reviews but with two children and a Full Time Job, I guess it happens! Anyways, the protagonist in this novel is Bea Nightingale. Bea is in her fifties and is a teacher in the New York City public schools, which was pretty difficult even in the fifties when she was teaching. Her life has been in stasis ever since her divorce from a musician best known for his movie soundtracks. She is estranged from her ex husband, who lives in California. She is also estranged from her snobby brother, Marvin, who also lives in California, but this estrangement ends when she gets an urgent letter from him begging her to go to France to rescue his son. So, Bea goes to Paris, France where she finds his son and his wife.  This novel is about how the floodgates of Bea's life are finally opened, enabling her to reclaim it and deal with the issues that she has hidden.

I really enjoyed this novel - this is apparently her sixth or seventh novel. She used a wonderful combination of letters and regular chapters to tell Bea's story and she also adeptly used a variety of voices.  Sometimes, she wrote as Bea, sometimes as Bea's niece, sometimes as Marvin.  This was an effective way to tell Bea's story and to give us a good, full picture of who Bea was and how she changed. Definitely an ejoyable novel.

Book number 2/100 for 2011


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