Book Review | The Foreigners by Maxine Swann

forI received The Foreigners through the Goodread First Reads program and after reading the first chapter I really wasn’t sure that I’d make it through to the end. The writing was extremely laconic, to the point of abruptness. Short sentences. Telling you a few things. Sort of strung together. Abrupt, like I said.

Surprisingly though, the writing style grew on me and I eventually found myself somewhat fond of it. I don’t think this was a result of the writing changing at all, but rather me adjusting to the writing. I started to see that it was actually quite melodic and lyrical.

Once I got used to the writing style, I was able to focus more on the story line. The plot centers around Daisy, an American woman who’s recently gone through a divorce, and who decides that a change of pace would do her some good. She scams some company into giving her a grant to study the water in Buenos Aries (despite not being any kind of water expert or caring at all about water systems) and heads on down. Before long she’s befriended two very different women, both of them foreigners. The story is that of their intertwining lives and the story of each of their struggles to escape from something.

There were parts of the plot that I found interesting enough, but most of it was about Daisy’s acceptance of some terrible behavior on the part of a woman she met named Leonarda, who was a completely mentally unstable person who lied, cheated and was just generally awful. For example, at one point she convinces Daisy that they killed a man, when in fact it was all some elaborate game Leonarda was playing. I found these antics to be both annoying and dull at the same time.

Overall, I think there is an audience for this book. It was interesting to learn some things about Buenos Aries and there was one minor character, Gabriel, who I found quite endearing. Overall though, it was an overly complicated story told with very simple language. It did not manage to engage me and in the end was quite forgettable.

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