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American Romantic

American Romantic

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Harry Sanders is a young foreign service officer in 1960s Indochina when a dangerous and clandestine meeting with insurgents—ending in quiet disaster—and a brief but passionate encounter with Sieglinde, a young German woman, alter the course of his life.

Absorbing the impact of his misstep, Harry returns briefly to Washington before eventual assignments in Africa, Scandinavia, and the Mediterranean. He marries the captivating May, who is fleeing her own family disappointments in worn-out upper New England and looking for an escape into Harry’s diplomatic life. On the surface, they are a handsome, successful couple—but the memory of Sieglinde persists in Harry’s thoughts, and May has her own secrets too. As Harry navigates the increasingly treacherous waters of diplomacy in an age of interminable conflict, he also tries to bridge the distances between himself and the two alluring women who have chosen to love him.

Ward Just, returning to his trademark territory of Forgetfulness and The Weather in Berlin, delivers an utterly compelling story of Americans trying to run the world, yet failing to master their lives.

Harry Sanders is a young foreign service officer in 1960s Indochina when a dangerous and clandestine meeting with insurgents—ending in quiet disaster—and a brief but passionate encounter with Sieglinde, a young German woman, alter the course of his life.

Absorbing the impact of his misstep, Harry returns briefly to Washington before eventual assignments in Africa, Scandinavia, and the Mediterranean. He marries the captivating May, who is fleeing her own family disappointments in worn-out upper New England and looking for an escape into Harry’s diplomatic life. On the surface, they are a handsome, successful couple—but the memory of Sieglinde persists in Harry’s thoughts, and May has her own secrets too. As Harry navigates the increasingly treacherous waters of diplomacy in an age of interminable conflict, he also tries to bridge the distances between himself and the two alluring women who have chosen to love him.

Ward Just, returning to his trademark territory of Forgetfulness and The Weather in Berlin, delivers an utterly compelling story of Americans trying to run the world, yet failing to master their lives.

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Publish date: Apr 1, 2014
Added to Scribd: Mar 13, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9780544227644
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07/26/2014

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Publishers Weekly reviewed this
Just's 18th novel (after Rodin's Debutante) tells the sensitive, elegant stories of a young, desperately naive American foreign service officer and the two women who love him. Harry Sanders is a low-level diplomat with the U.S. embassy in Saigon in the early 1960s. It's an exotic posting for a young bachelor, with the excitement of an emerging guerrilla war and the passion of a beautiful, restless German girlfriend, Sieglinde. Harry's budding career, however, takes a fatal turn when he is duped into a secret, unsanctioned negotiation with the North Vietnamese and his actions come back to haunt him. Years later, Harry marries May, and she follows him through 30 years of global postings and ambassadorships, during which time Harry's early career idealism becomes cynical posturing. And although he loves his wife, he cannot forget Sieglinde. In his work, he struggles to justify American interference in other countries' affairs, while in his personal life, he is torn between his feelings for the two women. Only after he retires does Harry finally understand something about his life. Just's clever plot reveals a man conflicted by duty and loyalty, adroitly playing the State Department career game, but always wondering what might have happened if he had just made one or two different choices in his life. It's also a fascinating portrayal of American embassy operations and the treacherous shoals of international diplomacy and duplicity. Agent: Lynne Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit Associates (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

2014-01-27, Publishers Weekly

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