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Hunting Unicorns: A Novel Paperback – May 10, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Pollen's flashy, witty, urbane romantic comedy digs affectionately at the blue-blooded English. Assigned by current affairs show Newsline to determine if the English aristocracy is "a dying breed who after centuries of appalling behaviour were finally getting their comeuppance," American journalist Maggie Monroe enlists the help of the London agency Stately Locations to meet and interview the well-born owners of those homes. Beleaguered Rory Jones runs the agency, which nets needy owners of crumbling great houses tourist money; unbeknownst to Maggie, he's also the heir of the exalted Bevan family thanks to the untimely death of his older brother, Daniel. Maggie and her film crew brush up on Burke's Peerage and invade the English countryside, running over peacocks and smoking pot in pricelessly appointed bedrooms. Despite Rory's injunction, Maggie ventures to the Bevan mansion and wins over Rory's dotty parents. As cousin to the queen, Rory's father, Earl Alistair, is "pure Newsline Gold... and a total anachronism." He's also an impoverished and rather sweet alcoholic—and the son of a Nazi collaborationist. Pollen (All About Men) ventures into these and other dicey areas dealing with the old aristocracy (i.e., sex) in a most engaging, irreverent manner, using alternate points of view for Maggie and Daniel, who, from beyond the grave, observes the action with wry detachment. Pollen's characterizations veer into the stereotypical, but charmingly so; in the end, Maggie and Rory are two young people in search of authentic experience, despite differences of birth and country.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
She'd rather be covering a war, but American television journalist Maggie Munroe is sent to England instead to "revisit Brideshead in the twenty-first century" by putting together a story on the aristocracy. To gain access to stately homes, she's put in touch with Rory Jones, who runs Stately Locations, an agency that helps impoverished lords develop commercial opportunities on their estates. Maggie doesn't know that Rory himself is the reluctant heir to an earldom and a huge pile of architecture. Her determination to do more than a puff piece leads her on a wrongheaded investigation of Nazi ties in one family--his family. Inevitably the brash, commitment-phobic Maggie and the drily witty, slightly hapless Rory (picture Hugh Grant) get over their squabbles and yield to their mutual attraction. Narrated alternately by Maggie and by Rory's brother Daniel (whose demise in the first chapter gets him a front-row seat from which to observe Rory's life), this quirky comedy melds romance with a P. G. Wodehouse view of England's upper crust. Mary Ellen Quinn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Culturally, I find myself best able to identify with books that crash cross-cultural and identity issues straight into each other. What can I say, I am fascinated by anything that may bring me closer to some internal revelation.
That is certainly ground covered here. The main characters are pushed into an awkward romance and the awkward terms of their own cultural identities. Some folks love celebrity gossip, but I eat this stuff up.
Without selling out the book too much, I'd like to point out my favorite writing device in this book. The story is revealed by two narrators, which is not strange, but one of those is dead. This is not some mythical sci-fi twist or even spiritual aspect of the plot, rather just a matter of fact. The post-mortem witticisms of tht extremely flawed narrator are spectacular.
In the end, it certainly gives me some new thoughts on the role of narrator in the story.
When I realized one of the narrators was dead I thought "oh,oh. A Lovely Bones wannabe?" But this novel is unique. Not like anything else I've read. And the narration is perfect. I loved the characters (American and English). I loved the plot (even though I know some of the 'urban' myths quite well!). I loved the details. I loved the linen cupboard. In fact, I loved everything. I'm off to check out Bella Pollen's other novels!