LOVE AND HUNGER by Vickery Turner
Kirkus Star


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English actress and author Turner (Focusing, 1985) does an elegant Jane Austen turn in which a wonderful modern heroine--an actress--romances a dark, brooding, and eminently suitable man. Being an unemployed actress at age 28 has been getting Lili Smith down. So her wheelchair-bound brother, Henry--who's planning to incorporate their correspondence (which Turner interweaves with narrative) in a future biography of his ""star"" sister--is pleased to receive a colorful letter from her about her new typing job for Dartey, a disillusioned, eccentric envoy of DAF (Development and Food for Africa). Weeks later, Dartey, who obsesses over the causes of famine in Africa, shocks Lili by turning up at a bad play in which she has a nude scene. The next day Dartey seduces her, only to fire her a day later in frustration at her seeming indifference to him. Hoping to forget her, Dartey accompanies a fatuous DAF money man to Africa. It doesn't work, and when he and Lili meet again in London, Lili pursues and wins him. The pair rush to the brink of marriage even as Lili moves to N.Y.C. to do her naked dance off-Broadway. Alas, when she moves on to Hollywood to star in the film of the play, Dartey's ambivalent attitude towards his vindictive mother forces Lili to give him up, But during a visit from brother Henry, she confesses her unhappiness at losing Dartey and at the emptiness of big success; soon after, she disappears. Meanwhile, a heartbroken Dartey, fired for his public criticism of DAF, goes to Africa to fight famine--and, in the midst of unending suffering, stumbles into the great romantic surprise of his life. A romantic, marvelously intelligent comedy of manners that celebrates two offbeat charmers: winsome entertainment.

Pub Date: April 4th, 1988
Publisher: Dutton