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The Lovers by Vendela Vida
In The Lovers, 53-year-old widow Yvonne struggles to regain some sense of purpose to her life after her husband's death. She's the mother of two children, a successful son and a daughter fighting drug addiction, and agrees to join her son on a Mediterranean trip. She takes a side trip first to the Turkish coast where she'd honeymooned with her husband. There she finds the local environs as unkempt and unsettling as her emotions. She rents a house and finds sex toys scattered about, deals with the strange relationship of the couple who are her landlords, repeatedly encounters a rude waiter, and has trouble driving roads unknown to her. It's not until she strikes up a friendship with a local boy and pays him to bring her seashells that she finds enjoyment in her holiday, but it's a relationship that makes the locals uneasy. Vendela Vida's novel has received positive reviews with the Washington Post saying, "The Lovers is somber, seductive, reflective, unsettling. All our lives are journeys, come to think of it. Hopefully, we shed some of our ignorance along the way. Vida writes -- so beautifully! -- about this process."