book cover of Foreign Brides

Foreign Brides

(1998)
A collection of stories by

 
 
Elena Lappin's short stories are as compact, sly and surprising as that scene in Rear Window where Grace Kelly lifts an elegant gauzy night-dress and satin slippers from an impossibly small suitcase. Lappin's writing too is a trick of compression. A lot gets said and done in spare, slanted sentences.

The Foreign Brides are imported from Eastern Europe; married "sight unseen" from Russia; have left Prague, Israel and Boston and ended up in grey London, buzzy New York, spacious Ottowa, border hopping and hoping for something better. But things are generally cramped: "Everything was neat and clean but there was absolutely no room to move."

Some of the characters survive by subtle sabotage: Noa in the "Noa and Noah" buys un-kosher meat for her devout family and has an affair with the butcher to brighten up her boring days; Vera in "Peacocks" buys an A-Z and gets a job driving a taxi, leaving her butler husband at home. Emma in "Michael Farmer's Baby" invents a phantom pregnancy--morning sickness as a cure for home sickness. Others, like Julie in "The Gladstone Brothers", become "immobile, sphinx-like, almost mute" with the dislocation of exile.

The characters, just like Grace Kelly, are entering strange territory, with weighty expectations and hopes, squeezed into tight cultural and emotional spaces. Lappin's gift is to travel light and pack in the irreverent detail. Very stylish wear from honeymooning foreign brides. --Eithne Farry



Praise for this book

"Memorable... [Foreign Brides] marks the arrival of an urbane and engaging talent." - Stephen Amidon


Used availability for Elena Lappin's Foreign Brides

Hardback Editions

December 1998 : USA Hardback
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Title: Foreign Brides
Author(s): Elena Lappin
ISBN: 0-374-15758-8 / 978-0-374-15758-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


March 1999 : UK Hardback
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Title: Foreign Brides
Author(s): Elena Lappin
ISBN: 0-330-37118-5 / 978-0-330-37118-6 (UK edition)
Publisher: Picador
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

November 2000 : USA Paperback
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Title: Foreign Brides: Stories
Author(s): Elena Lappin
ISBN: 0-312-26737-1 / 978-0-312-26737-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Picador
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

July 2016 : UK Kindle edition
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Title: Foreign Brides
Author(s): Elena Lappin
Publisher: Virago
Availability: Amazon UK