by James Collins
(Little, Brown, $24)
James Collins’ debut novel relies on “a stunning number” of familiar romantic comedy tropes, said Jennifer Armstrong in Entertainment Weekly. Peter, a slightly awkward young financial type, meets the woman of his dreams on an airplane, misplaces her phone number, then spends years waiting for life’s soap opera to bring his soul mate back to him. But Collins infuses each twist along the way with “so much old-school charm” that Beginner’s Greek becomes 400-plus pages of escapist magic. More vigorous editing would have made the book better, said Celia McGee in The New York Observer. Though Collins displays an assured touch with high-WASP culture, Wall Street lingo, and even the subject of love, “the pearls on this necklace” are separated by generous amounts of filler prose. The novel also feels as if Collins is avoiding an authentic portrait of haute suburbia in order to usher us around the grounds of “ye olde estate of Ralph Lauren.” Collins’ “sly humor” makes such faults forgivable, said Lee Rhodes in the Charlotte, N.C., Observer. More important, the humor makes it possible for sophisticated readers to believe, at least for 450 pages, that love still conquers all.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What the Middle Ages can tell us about the GOP's big charity myth
- 10 things you need to know today: October 24, 2014
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- America's anti-feminist mega-corporations' toxic disregard for women must stop
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- Let us now praise Billy Joel
- 10 self-sabotaging interview mistakes to avoid
- How foreign aid screwed up Liberia's ability to fight Ebola
Subscribe to the Week