THE VOYAGE by Robert MacNeil


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 Newsman MacNeil follows 1992's much-lauded Burden of Desire (1992) with this smoothly told if soap-operatic tale of a long and sweaty affair between a Canadian diplomat and a Caribbean fashion model. David Lyon is Canada's Consul General in New York, a 52-year- old career diplomat who's just been asked by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to consider an appointment as Minister of External Affairs. While Lyon mulls over the offer, a phone call alerts him that a boat, registered to one Francesca D'Anielli and bearing a letter addressed to him, has been found floundering off the coast of Finland. The call triggers a flood of memories about his ten- year affair, now ten years past, with Francesca, whom he'd met on a fact-finding mission for then PM Pierre Trudeau. David was a young diplomat on the move: handling a plum posting in Washington, married to the heavy-thighed and infinitely compassionate daughter of a great diplomat, and the father of two young children. (He was also politically insightful, and his dissections of Canada's Trudeau years make for the book's most interesting sections.) Enter Francesca, not yet 20, the slim and gorgeous daughter of British expatriates. David, spouting drivel about having locked himself into domesticity too early, began sleeping with her. As his career proceeded to postings in Canada, Zambia, Finland, she became a flight attendant, flying the globe to meet him, then a fashion model. Their happiest time together was a sailing trip in Finland, where they made a drunken promise to return on Francesca's 40th birthday. And though David called it quits, she keeps their pledge and, hoping meanwhile to carry out a silly plot to shock David, sails from the coast of Finland alone. This could easily have been the Bridges of Ottawa County, but MacNeil's strong voice drives his stock characters through their long deception and shows some true insight into human longing. A lightweight but enjoyable read. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-385-46952-7
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Talese/Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1995


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FictionBURDEN OF DESIRE by Robert MacNeil
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