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Beginner's Greek: A Novel Hardcover – Jan 9 2008

2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (Jan. 9 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316021555
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316021555
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,443,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From Publishers Weekly

The two young professionals of Collins's polished debut, Holly and Peter, meet on a flight bound from New York to L.A. They tacitly understand they are soul mates, and she invites him to dinner, but Peter soon discovers that he has lost the number Holly wrote on a page torn from Mann's The Magic Mountain. With Peter's financial career and New York society as a mundane backdrop, years pass and Holly ends up married to Jonathan, a successful author and womanizer—and, conveniently, Peter's best friend. Still aching for his one-time seatmate, Peter marries Charlotte, a dull Francophile, because it made sense. Charlotte, of course, is also in love with someone else—a former flame, Maximilien-Francois-Marie-Isidore. At Peter and Charlotte's wedding, Jonathan is struck by lightning, precipitating an endless series of events that changes the lives of family, friends and lovers alike—including Peter's boss and Charlotte's ex-stepmother. Former Time editor Collins, 48, writes as if fully aware that anyone who saw any one of a thousand other romantic comedies will find the plot familiar: he plays romantic comedy clichés with an expert coolness. Anyone for whom chick lit is a guilty pleasure will find the tone here multiple notches above the usual fare. (Jan.)
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"Pure Pleasure Plus Wit: The arch and romantic read of any season, James Collins' Beginner's Greek makes you half-believe in miracles. With his triteness detector in high gear and his sights trained on social hypocrisy, Collins spins a chance encounter on an airplane (shy guy meets his dream girl) into a perfectly calibrated comedy of missed opportunities and muddled loves." (O Magazine)

"Despite the contemporary setting, Collins's fiction debut has all the traits of a 19th-century romance-an omniscient and sometimes playful narrator, elegant prose that meanders through the lush terrain of disparate lives, an occasionally arch but always dulcet tone, frequent flashbacks, characters whose minds are plumbed (the females are especially well sounded), sophisticated dialog, and a much-delayed but delightful resolution. Jane Austen fans will feel right at home." (starred review) (Library Journal (starred review) 2007-01-00)

"Beginner's Greek is full of humor and a rare, perceptive sweetness. Jim Collins is a skeptic, a realist, and a fervent romantic all in one." (Cathleen Schine, author of She is Me and The New Yorkers)

"In Beginners Greek, James Collins achieves a tone - a farcical fatalism, poised, astringent, generous - that I thought until now was the exclusive property of the finest British comic novelists. How wrong I was, and how right this novel is, building from small domestic observations and cunning dramatic turnaboutstoward a wise and ample vision of human romantic folly." (Walter Kirn, author of Mission to America and Thumbsucker)

"Such a rare delight: a smart, elegant, madly romantic comedy with characters who seem perfectly, charmingly real as they swerve and stumble from fairy tale to social satire and back again. If you ever wished there were more Jane Austen and Laurie Colwin novels to read, or more Preston Sturges and George Cukor movies to watch, your dream has hereby come true." (Kurt Andersen, author of Heyday)

"Beginner's Greek is either an incisive romantic comedy or a feel-good social satire; it hardly matters, it's a huge entertainment. With his big, sloppy heart and astringent soul, James Collins is the new Jane Austen, only taller." (Larry Doyle, author of I Love You, Beth Cooper)

"James Collins is on home turf when it comes to the secret world of the American aristocracy. He knows these people uncomfortably well. I enjoyed it enormously." (Julian Fellowes, author of Snobs)

"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. Beginner's Greek and Peter Russell are keepers." (Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Lucia, Lucia and Big Stone Gap)

"Entertaining...the perfect airplane novel." (The San Francisco Chronicle 2008-01-00)

"unabashedly romantic" (New Yorker 2008-01-00)

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February 24, 2010
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Most helpful customer reviews on 3.1 out of 5 stars 111 reviews
5.0 out of 5 starsEntertaining, Sweet and Un-Put-Down-Able
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3.0 out of 5 starsmixed feelings
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2.0 out of 5 starsletdown
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Geoffrey C Hazzan
4.0 out of 5 starsGood fodder for a romantic film.
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Joseph D. Policano
2.0 out of 5 starsA starry eyed love story . Left me glassy eyed.
June 2, 2008 - Published on
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