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The Forever Girl (English Edition)
 
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The Forever Girl (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Alexander McCall Smith
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

I have often wondered about the proposition that for each of us there is one great love in our lives, and one only. Even if that is not true—and experience tells most of us it is not—there are those, in legend at least, who believe there is only one person in this world whom they will ever love with all their heart. Tristan persisted in his love of Isolde in spite of everything; Orpheus would not have risked the Underworld, one imagines, for anyone but Eurydice. Such stories are touching, but the cynic might be forgiven for saying: yes, but what if the person you love does not reciprocate? What if Isolde had found somebody she preferred to Tristan, or Eurydice had been indifferent to Orpheus?
 
The wise thing to do in cases of unreturned affection is to look elsewhere—you cannot force another to love you—and to choose somebody else. In matters of the heart, though, as in all human affairs, few of us behave in a sensible way. We can do without love, of course, and claim it does not really play a major part in our lives. We may do that, but we still hope. Indifferent to all the evidence, hope has a way of surviving every discouragement, every setback or reversal; hope sustains us, enables us to believe we will find the person we have wanted all along.
 
Sometimes, of course, that is exactly what happens.
 
This story started when the two people involved were children. It began on a small island in the Caribbean, continued in Scotland, and in Australia, and came to a head in Singapore. It took place over sixteen years, beginning as one of those intense friendships of childhood and becoming, in time, something quite different. This is the story of that passion. It is a love story, and like most love stories it involves more than just two people, for every love has within it the echoes of other loves. Our story is often our parents’ story, told again, and with less variation than we might like to think. The mistakes, as often as not, are exactly the same mistakes our parents made, as human mistakes so regularly are.
 
The Caribbean island in question is an unusual place. Grand Cayman is still a British territory, by choice of its people rather than by imposition, one of the odd corners that survive from the monstrous shadow that Victoria cast over more than half the world. Today it is very much in the sphere of American influence—Florida is only a few hundred miles away, and the cruise ships that drop anchor off George Town usually fly the flag of the United States, or are American ships under some other flag of convenience. But the sort of money that the Cayman Islands attract comes from nowhere; has no nationality, no characteristic smell.
 
Grand Cayman is not much to look at, either on the map, where it is a pin-prick in the expanse of blue to the south of Cuba and the west of Jamaica, or in reality, where it is a coral-reefed island barely twenty miles long and a couple of miles in width. With smallness come some advantages, amongst them a degree of immunity to the hurricanes that roar through the Caribbean each year. Jamaica is a large and tempting target for these winds, and is hit quite regularly. There is no justice in the storms that flatten the houses of the poor in places like Kingston or Port Antonio, wood and tin constructions so much more vulnerable than the bricks and mortar of the better-off. Grand Cayman, being relatively minuscule, is usually missed, although every few decades the trajectory of a hurricane takes it straight across the island. Because there are no natural salients, much of the land is inundated by the resultant storm surge. People may lose their every possession to the wind—cars, fences, furniture and fridges, animals too, can all be swept out to sea and never seen again; boats end up in trees; palm trees bend double and are broken with as much ease as one might snap a pencil or the stem of a garden plant.
 
Grand Cayman is not fertile. The soil, white and sandy, is not much use for growing crops, and indeed the land, if left to its own devices, would quickly revert to mangrove swamp. Yet people have occupied the island for several centuries, and scratched a living there. The original inhabitants were turtle-hunters. They were later joined by various pirates and wanderers for whom a life far away from the prying eye of officialdom was attractive. There were fishermen, too, as this was long before over-fishing was an issue, and the reef brought abundant marine life.
 
Then, in the second half of the twentieth century, it occurred to a small group of people that Grand Cayman could become an off-shore financial centre. As a British territory it was stable, relatively incorrupt (by the standards of Central America and the shakier parts of the Caribbean), and its banks would enjoy the tutelage of the City of London. Unlike some other states that might have nursed similar ambitions, Grand Cayman was an entirely safe place to store money.
 
“Sort out the mosquitoes,” they said. “Build a longer runway. The money will flow in. You’ll see. Cayman will take off.” Cayman, rather than the Cayman Islands, is what people who live there call the place—an affectionate shortening, with the emphasis on the man rather than the cay.
 
Banks and investors agreed, and George Town became the home of a large expatriate community, a few who came as tax exiles, but most of them hard-working and conscientious accountants or trust managers. The locals watched with mixed feelings. They were reluctant to give up their quiet and rather sleepy way of life but found it difficult to resist the prosperity the new arrivals brought. And they liked, too, the high prices they could get for their previously worthless acres. A tiny white-board home by the sea, nothing special, could now be sold for a price that could keep one in comfort for the rest of one’s life. For most, the temptation was just too great; an easy life was now within grasp for many Caymanians, as Jamaicans could be brought in to do the manual labour, to serve in the restaurants frequented by the visitors from the cruise ships, to look after the bankers’ children. A privileged few were given status, as they called it, and were allowed to live permanently on the islands, these being the ones who were really needed, or, in some cases, who knew the right people—the people who could ease the passage of their residence petitions. Others had to return to the places from which they came, which were usually poorer, more dangerous, and more tormented by mosquitoes.
 
Most children do not choose their own name, but she did. She was born Sally, and was called that as a baby, but at about the age of four, having heard the name in a story, she chose to be called Clover. At first her parents treated this indulgently, believing that after a day or two of being Clover she would revert to being Sally. Children got strange notions into their heads; her mother had read somewhere of a child who had decided for almost a complete week that he was a dog and had insisted on being fed from a bowl on the floor. But Clover refused to go back to being Sally, and the name stuck.
 
Clover’s father, David, was an accountant who had been born and brought up in Scotland. After university he had started his professional training in London, in the offices of one of the large international accountancy firms. He was particularly able—he saw figures as if they were a landscape, instinctively understanding their topography—and this led to his being marked out as a high flier. In his first year after qualification, he was offered a spell of six months in the firm’s office in New York, an opportunity he seized enthusiastically. He joined a squash club and it was there, in the course of a mixed tournament, that he met the woman he was to marry.
 
This woman was called Amanda. Her parents were both psychiatrists, who ran a joint practice on the Upper East Side. Amanda invited David back to her parents’ apartment after she had been seeing him for a month. They liked him, but she could tell that they were anxious about her seeing somebody who might take her away from New York. She was an only child, and she was the centre of their world. This young man, this accountant, was likely to be sent back to London, would want to take Amanda with him, and they would be left in New York. They put a brave face on it and said nothing about their fears; shortly before David’s six months were up, though, Amanda told her parents that they wanted to become engaged. Her mother wept at the news, although in private.
 
The internal machinations of the accounting firm came to the rescue. Rather than returning to London, David was to be sent to Grand Cayman, where the firm was expanding its office. This was only three hours’ flight from New York—through Miami—and would therefore be less of a separation. Amanda’s parents were mollified.
 
They left New York and settled into a temporary apartment in George Town, arranged for them by the firm. A few months later they found a new house near an inlet called Smith’s Cove, not much more than a mile from town. They moved in a week or two before their wedding, which took place in a small church round the corner. They chose this church because it was the closest one to them. It was largely frequented by Jamaicans, who provided an ebullient choir for the occasion, greatly impressing the friends who had travelled down from New York for the ceremony.
 
Fourteen months later, Clover was born. Amanda sent a photograph to her mother in New York: Here’s your lovely grandchild. Look at her eyes. Just look at them. She’s so beautiful—already! At two days!
 
“Fond parents,” said Amanda’s father.
 
His wife studied the photograph. “No,” she said. “She’s right.”
 
“Five days ago,” he mused. “Born on a Thursday.”
 
“Has far to go …”
 
He frowned. “Far to go?”
 
She explained. “The song. You remember it … Wednesday’s child is full of woe; Thursday’s child has far to go …”
 
“That doesn’t mean anything much.”
 
She shrugged; she had always felt that her husband lacked imagination; so many men did, she thought. “Perhaps that she’ll have to travel far to get what she wants. Travel far—or wait a long time, maybe.”
 
He laughed at the idea of paying any attention to such things. “You’ll be talking about her star sign next. Superstitious behaviour. I have to deal with that all the time with my patients.”
 
“I don’t take it seriously,” she said. “You’re too literal. These things are fun—that’s all.”
 
He smiled at her. “Sometimes.”
 
“Sometimes what?”
 
“Sometimes fun. Sometimes not.”

Revue de presse

“What may seem like an ordinary love tangle is a very rich stew of contemporary mores and a great stage for both comedy and heartbreak.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Touchingly conceived. . . . In the end we see that love unfulfilled still makes a difference.” —Library Journal

Praise for Alexander McCall Smith:

“McCall Smith’s generous writing and dry humor, his gentleness and humanity, and his ability to evoke a place and a set of characters without caricature or condescension have endeared his books to readers.” —The New York Times
 
“McCall Smith’s novels are beautifully precise and psychologically acute.” —The Independent (London)
 
“A vivid observer and an elegant writer.” —The Plain Dealer
 
“A virtuoso storyteller.” —The Scotsman
 
“A writer who charms many readers . . . McCall Smith’s characters are well-drawn and alive.”  —Providence Journal
 
“McCall Smith’s accomplished novels [are] dependent on small gestures redolent with meaning and main characters blessed with pleasing personalities . . . These novels are gentle probes into the mysteries of human nature.” —Newsday


Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 794 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 322 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0307908259
  • Editeur : Abacus (6 février 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00FLY3THG
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°38.505 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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En savoir plus sur l'auteur

Ressortissant britannique né en 1948 au Zimbabwe, où il a grandi, Alexander McCall Smith vit aujourd'hui à Édimbourg et exerce les fonctions de professeur de droit appliqué à la médecine. Il est internationalement connu pour avoir créé le personnage de la première femme détective du Botswana, Mma Precious Ramotswe, héroïne d'une série qui compte déjà onze volumes. Quand il n'écrit pas, Alexander McCall Smith s'adonne à la musique - il fait partie de « l'Orchestre épouvantable » - et aux voyages. Il est également l'auteur des aventures d'Isabel Dalhousie, présidente du Club des philosophes amateurs et de 44 Scotland Street, qui inaugure les « Chroniques d' Édimbourg », un roman-feuilleton relatant les tribulations d'un immeuble peuplé de personnages hauts en couleur.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A most enjoyable read 18 mars 2014
Par Pistache
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
This is a "feel good" novel which is well written and explores the way the human mind works. You are desperate for the heroine to react but she does not just as you probably would not do yourself in her shoes. You wonder what the outcome will be right to the very end. It is a most enjoyable read.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 reality 26 février 2014
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
It amazes me that a man can be so pereptive & see into the mind of others it just prooves that there is nothing new in human emotions
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.2 étoiles sur 5  177 commentaires
30 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Ending Was Completely Unexpected 16 février 2014
Par Catherine Ventura Merkel - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
As a big fan of Alexander McCall Smith, I really loved the majority of this book. However, without giving it away, the ending was unexpected but not in a good way. It just felt incomplete and abrupt, like he got tired of the dynamic tension throughout the book. As another review said, the behavior of James, the lifelong childhood friend and target of Clover's unrequited love, at the end is inconsistent with his previous behaviors. I was hoping to love the book and was hoping for a nice surprise at the end, but it fell flat. There are so many other more interesting ways the author could have ended.
17 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Conflict goes on and on... 15 février 2014
Par Ginger - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Disappointing as Smith`s novels go...the behavior of James throughout the story is not warranted in the ending...I was expecting his hesitancy to be explained by his mother telling him that Clover`s mother had an affair with his father...loved all of Smith`s previous works but this one is flat.
20 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Boring 16 février 2014
Par Helen Adams - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I thought Clover's obsession with James was simply annoying. There was nothing in Jame's character that warranted such devotion and as a result the ending felt very flat to me. I did enjoy the discriptions of Cayman and Scotland and the juxtaposition of the two areas. Normally I am a fan of Mccall Smith but this book disappointed me.
12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Alexander McCall Smith Misses with This One 27 février 2014
Par Terri J. Rice - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Alexander McCall Smith has been hit and miss with me. I loved The No. 1 Ladies' Detective series, but I thought the Professor Dr von Igelfeld books were just okay. I like Isabel Dalhousie series but found 44 Scotland Street insufferable.

The Forever Girl started out well and was intriguing. The Grand Cayman setting made the story exotic. McCall Smith has a way of getting to the truth of his characters.

But dang it, round about page 200 of 316 it just d-r-a-g-g-e-d. I didn't care about Clover, I didn't care about James, I didn't care about Amanda and her fling, no one. It grew trite, silly and insipid.

I really wanted to like another Alexander McCall Smith book.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 The Forever Girl Disappoints 25 mars 2014
Par Anita Lienert - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I am a great fan of Alexander McCall Smith, but I was disappointed with The Forever Girl. It suffers from too much repetition, with the same points being made over and over again. The ending was syrupy sweet and not at all realistic. I had the terrible feeling that the author went on a trip to the Caribbean and had to justify the expense by writing a short novel about the place. Talk about phoning it in.
You would be better served by rereading some Jane Austen.
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