The Lovers (Hardcover)
June 2010 Indie Next List
“After the loss of her husband, Yvonne travels to Turkey to the town of her honeymoon years before. In trying to reconnect to the good parts of her marriage she ends up feeling lost and lonely, but through a series of mismatched friendships, she finds her way back to herself and her family. A beautifully written book.”
— Joni Ditzler, Maria's Bookshop, Durango, CO
From the acclaimed author of the 2007 New York Times Notable Book Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name comes a stunning novel about the love between husbands and wives, mothers and children.
Twenty-eight years ago, Peter and Yvonne honeymooned in the beautiful coastal village of DatÇa, Turkey. Now Yvonne is a widow, her twin children grown. Hoping to immerse herself in memories of a happier timeas well as sand and seaYvonne returns to DatÇa. But her plans for a restorative week in Turkey are quickly complicated. Instead of comforting her, her memories begin to trouble her. Her vacation rental's landlord and his bold, intriguing wifewho share a curious marital arrangementbecome constant uninvited visitors, in and out of the house.
Overwhelmed by the past and unexpectedly dislocated by the environment, Yvonne clings to a newfound friendship with Ahmet, a local boy who makes his living as a shell collector. With Ahmet as her guide, Yvonne gains new insight into the lives of her own adult children, and she finally begins to enjoy the shimmering sea and relaxed pace of the Turkish coast. But a devastating accident upends her delicate peace and throws her life into chaosand her sense of self into turmoil.
With the crystalline voice and psychological nuance for which her work has been so celebrated, Vendela Vida has crafted another unforgettable heroine in a stunningly beautiful and mysterious landscape.
“There’s a certain genre in fiction; the ‘woman traveling alone in foreign country when things start to go wrong’ story...not every writer can capture...that sense of impending doom and suspense that is almost Graham Greenish. Vendela Vida has nailed it.” (Rating: 5 out of 5)
-Linda Grana, Bookbrowse.com
“Quietly provocative, The Lovers explores the perils of self-involvement and the ease with which we destroy one another’s lives.”
“A wise and generous book.”
-Aleksandar Hemon, author of National Book Award Finalist THE LAZARUS PROJECT
“THE LOVERS pulls you out to sea with a masterful hypnosis. I was so enthralled by the grief, the sticky and sandy details, and especially the perfect articulation of feminine self-awareness that I didn’t realize how deep in I was. I read the last page with a tearful gasp.”
-Miranda July, author of NO ONE BELONGS HERE MORE THAN YOU
“Vendela Vida’s The Lovers is a spare and haunting meditation on how travel can bring us full circle back to the place from which we should have started. I read it over two days and dreamed about it the second night.”
-Francine Prose, author of GOLDENGROVE
“A captivating account of a woman seeking escape and discovering emotional clarity...THE LOVERS is both a meditation on grieving and a gripping page-turner.”
-The Daily Beast
“Stunning. A masterful meditation on grief and love. The Lovers is a sensational novel from one of our finest writers at the height of her craft.”
-Stephen Elliott, author of THE ADDERALL DIARIES
Vendela Vida writes with elegance and economy. In this engrossing novel, she has managed to combine a stingingly acute portrait of grief, a moving meditation on love (both filial and romantic) and a page-turning adventure.
-Zoë Heller, author of The Believers
“Vida’s work becomes clearer and more sophisticated with every book she writes; and THE LOVERS is her best and most disturbing novel yet.”
-San Francisco Chronicle
“Vida’s rich imagery and deep, skillful dives into tangled emotions will keep you riveted.”
-Daily Candy Chicago
“Haunting....Vida, a cofounder and coeditor of literary magazine The Believer, has a gift for probing the workings of memory.”
-Time Out New York
“[Vida’s] third novel is further evidence that she can fashion characters as unpredictable as they are endearing...[THE LOVERS] is a satisfying, often brilliant portrait of a woman searching for relief from things that will not, she discovers at last with something like acceptance, go away.”
-New York Times Book Review
“[Vida] has an eye for understated details that leap from the page and linger in the soul...Vida deftly weaves the power of description into the broader tapestry of Yvonne’s journey...THE LOVERS, slim and transportive, is an invitation to join Yvonne on her journey. It’s worth the trip.”
-St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“THE LOVERS is somber, seductive, reflective, unsettling. All our lives are journeys...[and] hopefully, we shed some of our ignorance along the way. Vida writes—so beautifully!— about this process.”
“A languorous meditation on how accidents of fate shape a life.”
“Vida shows she’s supremely talented at tracing the drifts of memory and emotion that course through a person...clear, simple prose...An elegant consideration of how death and distance tightens human connections—a big theme that Vida addresses with sure-footedness and charm.”
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A brilliant, topsy-turvy, twenty-first-century variation on E. M. Forster’s A PASSAGE TO INDIA...Vida creates an atmosphere at once molten and chilling as she deftly exposes the wounding reverberations of timeless conflicts between men and women, parents and children, East and West, appearance and truth.”
“Vida is an elegant, droll writer who gets the strangeness and self-consciousness of traveling alone just right....[THE LOVERS] deserves a place right up there beside [Marguerite Duras’s THE LOVER], for it too is a slender and necessary book of great depth and reach.”
“A beautiful, complex journey....Ideal for book clubs...it’s filled with rich, luminous prose, and its deceptively delicate plot and pacing provide ample topics for discussion.” (Rating: 5 out of 5)
-Carrie LaGree, Bookbrowse.com