The collapse of her brief marriage has stalled Bea Nightingale's life, leaving her middle-aged and alone, teaching in an impoverished borough of 1950s New York. A plea from her estranged brother gives Bea the excuse to escape lassitude by leaving for Paris to retrieve a nephew she barely knows; but the siren call of Europe threatens to deafen Bea to the dangers of entangling herself in the lives of her brother's family.By one of America's great living writers, Foreign Bodies is a truly virtuosic novel. The story of Bea's travails on the continent is a fierce and heartbreaking insight into the curious nature of love: how it can be commanded and abused; earned and cherished; or even lost altogether.
Ruth Puttermesser lives in New York City. Her learning is monumental; her love life is minimal. And her most idle fantasies have a disconcerting tendency to come true. She yearns for a daughter and promptly creates one, unassisted, in the form of the first recorded female golem - a Jewish mythological homunculus. She also manages to get herself elected mayor. Then Puttermesser inadvisably contemplates the afterlife, whereupon she is immediately hurtled into it headlong and discovers, at the end of it all, that a paradise found is also paradise lost.
Lars Andeming, perhaps overly intellectual and certainly eccentric, is the Monday book reviewer for a Stockholm daily. He is also the self-proclaimed son of Bruno Schulz, a Polish writer who was executed by the Nazis before his last novel, The Messiah, could be published. When a manuscript of The Messiah mysteriously appears in Stockholm, in the possession of Schulz's 'daughter', Lars's circumscribed world of paper, apartment, and favorite bookstore turns upside down, catapulting him into a whirlwind of dream, magic, and illusion.