Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Foreigners by Maxine Swann ***

In The Foreigners, set in contemporary Buenos Aires, author Maxine Swann's main character, Daisy, often returns the various methods used to control alien species that invade an ecosystem, especially adding other alien species to control the undesirable foreigners. This theme is reflected in the ambiguous feeling the foreigners have about the native Argentinians, such as a support group for wives who married Argentinians, and each other.

This novel centers around three women, Daisy, an American running away from a traumatic divorce, Isolde, an Austrian looking for a much better life, and Leonarda, an Argentinian free spirit. These three women struggle to find a personal niche in Buenos Aires.

All three scattered their seeds/spores far and wide. Daisy befriending a gay prostitute, Isolde frequenting cultural events and high-society parties, and Leonarda taking up with a famous author. While single women making their way in the world, and the full range of sexual and personal relationship explored might speak for independence and freedom for women in the
21st century ... that is not the case for this book.

The only character to reach a satisfactory conclusion for her quest, and maybe the only one to achieve victory over the ecological battle, settles into an classical marriage where she retires from the world in exchange of a home and hearth and little else.

Anyone looking for an early retirement from life might find this to be a cautionary tale and encouragement for a stable, though uneventful, marriage.

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