108 - The Micehigan Daily Weekend Magazine Thrsdc*, v xry .,aI 997
The Michigan Pay Weeken a
Spend a racy Valentine's
D ay with A Spanish Lover'
The Hartford Courant
While it sounds as though it belongs on the
Harlequin Romance rack, "A Spanish Lover" is no
A romance, yes, but a romance in which real life
- with all its hopes, disappointments and every-
day annoyances - intrudes at
shockingly frequent intervals.
But if every now and then real
life is generous enough to.;,
throw us a dizzying love:
affair, why not?
Fans of England's<
Joanna Trollope, a descen-
dant of the prolific Victorian
novelist Anthony Trollope, know
that real life is her bread-and-butter as a
writer. She writes readable novels about real peo-
ple, with real foibles, real desires and the real
capacity to act in surprising, even churlish, ways.
An appealing dash of soap opera enlivens her
books, which include "The Men and the Girls,"
"The Rector's Wife" and "The Choir," the last two
of which have been dramatized on "Masterpiece
Theatre.' Trollope has a wonderful way with char-
acterizations, possessing the facile ability to sketch
an outline in a few quick strokes
and then vividly flesh out her por-
trait as the book goes along.
She does something intriguing,
character-wise, in "A
Spanish Lover." Her two
main characters are twin
37-year-old sisters, iden-
tical physically, but as
unalike emotionally as the
average man and woman.
She does a deft job differentiating the fecund
Lizzie Middleton, an overachieving "supermom,"
from her unmarried twin, Frances Shore, who owns
her own business, a small travel agency.
Frances is the more interesting twin, at least ini-
tially, because she is the more mysterious, the
more elusive, the more emotionally remote.
Lizzie feels vaguely sorry for Frances, because
she is single. Lizzie thinks Frances must be unhappy,
and in one way, this satisfies Lizzie because it keeps
Frances somehow vulnerable and therefore attached
to Lizzie. And yet Frances, who is quite astute,
knows that she and her sister are two separate beings.
"We are twins, so we are a unit,"
Frances thinks, "we have a kind of
joint wholeness, together we make
up a rich, rounded person, but we
are like two pieces of a jigsaw, we
have to fit together, and to do that
properly we can't be exactly the
As Frances' mother
observes, Frances is "an unsuit-
able person to be a twin" In "A
Spanish Lover," "sensible" Frances
proves that she is indeed her own person, and in
doing so she shakes up the status quo, alarming her
family with her sudden plunge into a love affair
with a man she meets in Spain.
Luis Gomez Moreno is charming and gorgeous.
He is also 10 years older than Frances, married (but
long separated from his wife), Catholic and "a for-
eigner." With things going swimmingly for Frances,
life abruptly falls apart for Lizzie and her husband
Rob. For many years they have owned a successful
gallery that specializes in trendy crafts. But with the
economy in the doldrums, the gallery is faltering,
and the bank now wants the Middletons to repay a
huge loan on their beloved old home, the Grange.
Rounding out the family portrait in "A Spanish
Lover" are the lively brood of Middleton kids -
convincingly portrayed by Trollope, from their
bouts with chickenpox to their
bouts with teenage obnox-
iousness - and Frances'
and Lizzie's parents,
William and Barbara.
Barbara once ran off to
Marrakesh when the twins were
10, and she's been brooding ever
since she returned a few months later.
Lovable but passive William has carried on
by keeping a mistress on the side, whose
existence is acknowledged by all.
Frances, by now deeply in love, decides to get
pregnant, against Luis' fervent wishes. How will
the various domestic crises resolve themselves in
"A Spanish Lover"?
The answer is best expressed in the words of
William, who believes "that nothing lovely was ever,
somehow, wasted, even if it came to an end." Like her
previous books, Trollope's newest novel is commer-
cial fiction topped with a dollop of sophistication.
By Bryan Lark
Daily Film Editor
Love. It makes the world go 'round. It's exciting and new. It's soft
as an easy chair. It's a many-splendored thing. It's a good thing.
Sometimes, it lifts your spirits. Sometimes, it ignites your hor-
mones. Sometimes, it sucks the life out of you and kicks you to the
Whatever your style of love, there is a romantic film to match it,
and there is no better time than Valentine's Day to rent
that special movie, tailored to fit your romantic needs.
Feel your romance is doomed? Your problems
with love won't look so bad next to those of Tony
and Maria in the Oscar-winning "West Side
Story," where showtunes and ballet are practiced
amongst love and death. Don't forget the Kleenex.
Is a good, cathartic cry what your relation-
ship needs? Try the Streisand-Redford
schmaltz that is, "The Way We Were," or "An
Affair To Remember," that three-hankie chick-
flick classic with Cary Grant, the King of Romance.
Is Cary Grant your cup of romantic tea? Get the
love triangle farce that paved the way for all modern love triangle
farces like "The Truth About Cats and Dogs," "While You Were
Sleeping" and "The Philadelphia Story," starring Katharine Hepburn
and Jimmy Stewart as pawns in Grant's game of love.
Do you dig that kooky Hitchcock kind of love? "Rebecca" with
Laurence Olivier, or "Notorious" with Cary Grant and Ingrid
Bergman show that all in love is not what it seems when there are
spies, deceased spouses and lesbian maids involved.
Think your love will only be fleeting lust? You're right, and the
wordy, intoxicating "Before Sunrise" with Ethan Hawke and Julie
Delpy will prove that true love can last only one day.
Think your love will last forever, even when your lover is dead?
Yeah, right. But rent "Ghost" again anyway, just to get your hopes
Check out these films to cuddle with
Do you feel that romance is full of surprises? Forget impulsive
trips to Vegas and spur-of-the-moment gifts, the offbeat uncondi-
tional love fable, "The Crying Game," shows that getting to know
your partner is the ultimate surprise.
Is your love a little too high for its own good? Sober up to the alco-
hol-drenched, relentlessly depressing "Leaving Las Vegas." What
could be more romantic than gambling, vodka and a hooker who
looks like Elisabeth Shue?
In love with your best friend? The paramount
'80s romantic comedy, "When Harry Met
Sally," will map out how to get from Point A to
Is your love unavailable to you? Come up
with an insurance scam that entitles you to
money and a seductive woman, if you murder her
husband. "Double Indemnity" and "The Last
Seduction" will act as your instructional videos.
Do you find masochistic activity romantic? Punish
yourself and your lover with a Christian Slater cheese-fest
featuring Christian as delivery
boy-next-door in "Bed Of Roses"
and Christian as, um, baboon heart
recipient in "Untamed Heart."
Wishing your love life were an
Audrey Hepburn movie? Indulge
yourself with "Breakfast At Tiffany's"
or take a "Roman Holiday." Either
way you can lose yourself in romantic
Is your idea of fantasy romance 10
minutes of preposterous underwater That classic romance, "While
dolphin sex? Then the horrible
"Showgirls" is the movie for you. Hey, a good lap dance can cure any
Is romance giving you a tingly feeling down below? Suppress
those naughty thoughts with the innocent, light-hearted road classic
"It Happened One Night" featuring the marvelous sexually-tense
bickering of Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert.
Do you like a
ing? How about
intensity of the I
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starring either S
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You, your lov
beginning of a b:
Short stories must be less than
2000 words; poetry must be less
than 40 lines. Submissions
accepted from undergraduates
A committee of creative writing
subconcentrators and Daily editors
will judge entries. Selected works
will be published in the Daily's
Literary Magazine on March 13,
1997. Submission deadline is
Monday, Feb. 24, at 5 p.m.
submissions / questions to
daily.literarvumnich. edi, or
bring submissions on disk (Mac
or IBM) to the Daily Arts office,
420 Maynard St.
Call 76303 79 for more info.
Employees of The Michigan Daily
an judges are ineligible.
Impotence got you down? Never fear, the gangster romance
"Bonnie and Clyde" proves that even when you're shooting blanks,
you can still be lovers on the run.
Do you write poetry or short stories?
Then submit your work for The Michigan Daily's Literary Magazine.
V Short stories must be less than 2000 words; poetry must be less than 40 lines.
Submissions will be accepted from undergraduates only.
V A committee of creative writing subconcentrators and Daily editors will judge
entries. Selected works will be published in the Daily's Literary Magazine on
March 13, 1997. Submission deadline is Monday, Feb. 24, at 5 p.m.
/ Please e-mail submissions and questions to daily.literary @umich.edu, or call
763-0379 for more info. Submissions will also be accepted by disk (Apple or
IBM). Bring them in to 420 Maynard St., second floor Arts Office.
Employees of The Michigan Daily and creative writing judges are
ineligible to submit.
EN C i. 1_5'N
g 6 A R D
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