ANDORRA

By Peter Cameron
New York: Plume -- Penguin Group, 1998
ISBN # 0-452-27944-5
263 pages

Comments by Bob Corbett
March 2010

Alex Fox has come to Andorra to forget, to hide, to begin anew. He picked this location precisely because it is remote, sparsely populated, yet a lovely place to be in the main. He meets some quite unusual and interesting characters, and he himself is just as unusual and interesting. There are the Dents, struggling in their marriage in which he prefers sex with men and she with multiple men including, perhaps especially, Alex. There are the Quay sisters, Jean, quiet but unsettlingly attractive to Alex and Nancy, pretty, sexy, brash and rather unpleasant for Alex to be around. Then there is mother Quay, old British aristocrat who fully acts the part.

The novel is very suspenseful and once hooked on the story I just kept reading and reading, finishing the book in just two days. The well-crafted plot gripped me and while it is, in part, a mystery, I didnít predict the outcome and was quite surprised.

The novel is well-written and well-paced. There is one extremely odd feature. Author Peter Cameron sets the novel seemingly in current time in the country of Andorra, that small nation which sits in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain. However, Andorra all of a sudden has a COAST, presumably to the Mediterranean. I couldnít figure this out, and for some time thought this novel must be set in the future when some major natural catastrophe has befallen the Iberian peninsula, sort of what Jose Saramago talked about in The Stone Raft. But, no, the time is current to the writing Ė late 1990s. The author just chose to dramatically change the geography of Andorra. I found that to be a very odd choice.

However, I did enjoy the novel. Itís nothing deep or profound, just a good story, with characters who are not terribly likeable, but believable and quite strange, but generally interesting. Itís definitely a novel worth a read.

Bob Corbett corbetre@webster.edu

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Bob Corbett corbetre@webster.edu