From the acclaimed author of Red Island House, Andrea Lee’s brilliant, outrageous collection of short stories confronts identity, desire, colliding cultures, and self-discovery.
In vivid prose infused with wicked irony, award-winning author Andrea Lee takes us into the hearts and minds of a number of extraordinary women—intelligent, beautiful, self-possessed—who, with wit and style, grapple with questions of identity in an increasingly connected world where everyone has become, in some way, a foreigner.
In “The Birthday Present,” a loyal and conventional American wife explores the wilder shores of marital devotion by giving her Italian husband a costly present. “Winter Barley” is the account, alternately lyrical and perverse, of the brief love affair in Scotland between an elderly European prince and a thoroughly modern New England beauty half his age. And in the collection’s title story, “Interesting Women,” a woman on vacation in Thailand reflects with wry detachment on the confessional relationships that spring up between women (“another day, another soul laid bare”), before falling into one herself, which culminates in a hilarious and absurd odyssey through the jungle.
Lee’s beautifully crafted stories offer a rare combination: a sensual evocation of the moment, and profound insight into the underlying struggles—of gender, race, and class—that continue to shape our world. Critically acclaimed when it was first published, this collection is ready to be embraced by a new generation of readers.
Andrea Lee is the author of five books, including the National Book Award–nominated memoir Russian Journal, the novels Red Island House,Lost Hearts in Italy and Sarah Phillips, and the story collection Interesting Women. A former staff writer for The New Yorker, she has written for The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, W, and The New York Times Book Review. Born in Philadelphia, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard University and now lives in Italy.