“Vendela Vida has written a riveting and suspenseful novel about an American woman’s voyage to self-discovery.”
—Joyce Carol Oates
“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
In 2007, Vendela Vida’s novel Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. With her new novel, The Lovers, former Kate Chopin Writing Award winner Vida tells a powerful and beautiful tale of a widow returning alone to the site of her honeymoon in Turkey, and her subsequent journeys through her past and her present.
The overwrought latest from Vida (Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name) concerns itself with paradoxes of intimacy: isolation within a closely tied family and the unexpected affection between strangers from different cultures. Twenty-six years after her honeymoon in Dat a, Turkey, recently widowed Yvonne returns to the Turkish peninsula not to relive the early happy days of her marriage but "to remember" them. Instead, she finds herself haunted by the many struggles she and her husband faced, above all the wedge driven between them by the antics of their alcoholic daughter, Aurelia. As Yvonne explores the town and its surrounding beaches, she starts to settle into her new identity as a widow and finds herself under a microscope as an American tourist traveling alone. A fast friendship with a young Turkish boy eases Yvonne's loneliness, but it also sparks the disapproval of several locals, leading to a climactic conversation and a quiet epiphany. It's a slow, self-involved story, nearly every page of which is marred by Vida's strained attempts to create high art.