The Foreigners by Maxine Swann

A glittering, energetic novel about three women-each experiencing an awakening in the gloriously conflicted and sexy city of Buenos Aires.

(MediaQuire) The 2007 publication of Maxine Swann’s Flower Children, a novel about the unconventional upbringing of four siblings raised by devout hippies in Pennsylvania farm country in the 1970s and 80s, was met with an outpouring of critical praise. People called the novel “mesmerizing,” gave it four stars, and made it a critic’s choice. The New York Times featured the book a total of five times, and Michiko Kakutani deemed it a “gem of a novel,” one that “showcases [Swann’s] eye for detail, her psychological acuity, her ability to conjure up a particular place and time.”

Just as Flower Children was based on her childhood, Swann’s most recent novel, THE FOREIGNERS (Riverhead Trade Paperbacks; August 7, 2012; $15), also draws from the author’s life—this time from her experience as an American living in Buenos Aires, the city where she has made her home for the past decade. Against the backdrop of that vibrant, schizophrenic metropolis, THE FOREIGNERS explores the predicament of the foreigner—the way an emigrant perceives her new country, the way she or he is in turn perceived, and the myriad unpredictable factors that lead to a foreigner’s ability to adapt in a new place. What does the foreigner become abroad that she or he could never be at home? What are the conditions that sustain this metamorphosis, for better or for worse?

Daisy is a thirty-five-year-old American, fleeing from a failed marriage and dwindling career back home in Seattle. Isolde, a beautiful but lonely Austrian woman, is eager to reinvent herself as a glamorous socialite in a city where Europeans are automatically allotted upper-class status. For both women, Buenos Aires offers a chance to break free from the past, and will ultimately awaken them to impulses and desires they didn’t know they possessed.

With the hypnotic prose and transportive powers that made Flower Children such a tremendous success, but bolder, sexier, and more ambitious, THE FOREIGNERS is the exciting next step for a young, celebrated literary writer. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or to receive a review copy.

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