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Beginner's Greek By James Collins


Peter and Holly randomly sit next to each other on a plane flying to Los Angeles, and strike up a conversation that lasts the entire flight. Holly gives Peter her phone number, which he loses. Thus kept apart, James Collins’ characters live their lives and marry other people, but after a tragic event at a wedding, they struggle to figure out what, exactly, that plane ride meant. Peter and Holly are the primary characters in Beginner’s Greek, and they’re the ones the reader falls in love with, but Collins has filled the novel with a host of other interesting, well-developed family, friends, and colleagues of Peter’s and Holly’s.

It is this completeness of their world that gives Beginner’s Greek its depth and interest.
The ease and humor of Collins’ writing are perhaps the most appealing aspects of Beginner’s Greek. His narration transitions easily from Peter’s stream-of-consciousness to a third-person description of events he knows nothing about to Holly’s stream-of-consciousness -- all delivered in Collins’ crisp and funny prose.
For all its romantic sweetness, Collins’ novel has a deliberate and convincing view of the world, and it’s expressed through his astute social observations and intuitions. It is this combination of this old-fashioned romance with a hard look at business, infidelity, and wealth that makes Beginner’s Greek so unusual and un-miss-able.

 

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