Clare Moorhouse, the American wife of a high-ranking diplomat in Paris, is arranging an official dinner crucial to her husband's career. As she shops for fresh stalks of asparagus and works out the menu and seating arrangements, her day is complicated by the unexpected arrival of her son and a random encounter with a Turkish man, whom she discovers is a suspected terrorist. More unnerving is a recurring face in the crowd, one that belonged to another, darker era of her life. One she never expected to see again. But it can't be him - he's been dead for 20 years....
Like Virginia Woolf did in Mrs. Dalloway, Anne Korkeakivi brilliantly weaves the complexities of an age into an act as deceptively simple as hosting a dinner party.
©2012 Anne Korkeakivi (P)2012 Hachette Audio
"Anne Korkeakivi's writing has all the best qualities of an Ishiguro novel. Clare, a seemingly selfless diplomat's wife, the epitome of restraint and hermetic detachment, unravels before us into a woman of dangerous allegiances, passions, and moral dilemmas, in prose that is both beautiful and razor sharp. Paris is depicted with subtle complexity, a city that reposes as it threatens, full of scorn and grace. Korkeakivi's sense of detail is remarkable while grounded in authenticity. An Unexpected Guest is a feast of a novel." (George Hagen, author of The Laments)
"A taut, tender, suspenseful novel, delicately told." (Fernanda Eberstadt, author of Rat and The Furies)
"Anne Korkeakivi writes wonderfully about embassy manners, food, and Paris, and she writes even better about the darker world that threatens to disrupt not just Clare's seating plan for dinner but her entire life. An Unexpected Guest, like its heroine, is a novel of great elegance, enormous surprises, and unexpected depths." (Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street)
I love to read books set in interesting places or historical settings. I especially love mysteries and thrillers.
When an author can take a few loose threads of a plot and bring them all together in a very full story, I find myself in book heaven. I honestly wasn't expecting that much when I started this book. What could be riveting about one day in the life of a deputy ambassador's wife in Paris preparing a dinner party that evening? Yet, the story builds and builds until you are hooked and can't stop listening.
For a story of this type, characters matter. Anne Korkeakivi delivered with very believable but interesting people.
If you are a fan of the classic novels "Mrs. Dalloway" or "The Hours", you will find this book very comparable. The main difference, and NO spoilers here, but the ending is fantastic. I loved it and felt great when I finished the book.
Reader was excellent, story compelling, yes.
We all have things to hide in our past, does anyone need to know really?
I like the reader alot, don't know if I've heard her before.
Story dragged in places and was underdeveloped in some areas.
Author, Consultant, Speaker
I found this an easy listen while doing chores but felt the main character was rather shallow. Guilt from our past can often overshadow our present and this aspect of the story kept me interested.
This kind of story (a woman reviewing her life as she prepares for a dinner party) has been written already by Virginia Woolf and Michael Cunningham.They did it with charm, wit, and intelligence. Anne Korkeakivi is either a bad writer, or the narrator made it sound badly written. It was a total disappointment.
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