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Andrea Lee Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Sarah Phillips (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lost Hearts in Italy (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Red Island House (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Interesting Women (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Russian Journal (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The New Granta Book of the American Short Story(2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Review of Contemporary Fiction: Roberto Calasso Issue(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Andrea Lee is better known as a journalist, novelist and memoirist. While she has achieved some notoriety for her collections of short stories and novels, she currently works as a staff writer at the New Yorker.

Another surprising thing about Andrea is the fact that while she writes for the New Yorker as a staff writer, she makes her permanent home in Turin Italy, where she lives with her husband. It is from Europe that she writes much of her fiction and nonfiction works that have captivated audiences over the years.
The author was raised in Philadelphia Pennsylvania to a very prosperous African American family, which perhaps explains the themes in her debut novel. Andrea was born to an elementary school teacher for a mother and a Baptist minister for a father.

Given her family’s affluence, she went to private schools growing up and remembers that she used to write fiction and desired to live in Europe, even when she was very little.

Nonetheless, her privileged upbringing was no shield for the discomfiting incident common in high school,.she attended. She explores these experiences and her identity in her later works.

By the time Andrea Lee graduated with her English bachelors and masters degrees from Radcliffe College of Harvard University, she had gotten married.
Soon after finishing her studies, the two moved to the Soviet Union and spent nearly a year between 1978 and 1979 taking in the sights, sounds, and culture of the citizens of Leningrad and Moscow.

Andrea proves an astute observer and offers empathetic commentary on Soviet institutions and society. It is from her experiences that she wrote the 1981 Random House published memoir “Russian Journal.”

It was a critically acclaimed work that was nominated for several awards winning the Institute of Arts and Letter and American Academy sponsored Jean Stein Award and the National Book Award.

When Andrea Lee went back to the US, she got a job working for the New Yorker as a staff writer. She was very active during this time contributing non fiction and literary pieces to the likes of the “Oxford American,” the “New York Times,” “House & Garden,” “Time,” “W,” and “Gourmet.”

She made her first literary fiction debut when she published “Sarah Philips” an autobiographical work in 1984. It would take several years before she wrote her next work of fiction. It was a collection of short stories starring black women in the 2002 published “Interesting Women: Stories.”

Over the years, she has made a name for writing short fiction, memoirs and novels exploring concepts of foreignness and themes of identity.She writes of places where imaginations, races and cultures intersect, ongoing dialogue between different peoples and insightful takes on borderlands.

Lee often finds inspiration from her experiences living as a child in a community that pioneered white spaces. She also combines that with her other experiences as an expatriate and traveler in Europe.

The autobiographical novel “Sarah Phillips” by Andrea Lee is a work set in a hermetic world. It is a world in which the black bourgeoisie, which is a demographic foreign to many Americans has been living in cautious pomp.

They make their homes in the eatern cities and have made use of their riches to imitate high society. They also use their funds acting gallantry to educate their children in the face of the challenges of newly integrated schools as the struggle for civil rights continues.

The lead in the work happens to be a low key girl and her voice is so matter of fact and limpid that she often comes across as uninvolved. However, she briliantly offers descriptions of obscure reluief and thrilled terror coupled with the recklessness and equanimity that gives great isnights into her life as an African American woman.

She acknowledges her limited and conditional privilege even as she tries to weather the abrasive but mainly easy and tender discipline from her parents.

Andrea Lee’s novel “Red Island House” introduces Shay. She is shocked to learn that her husband wants to build a spectacular dream house in Madagascar on a tropical idyllic beach.

The house which is named Red Island House enchants Shay right from the moment she sets eyes on it. In no time at all she is the reluctant mistress of a massive house.

She is caught between her connection to Africa, her ancestral homeland and her privileged American education and upbringing.

Initially, she is happy to just take in the fierce rivalries and ambitions, the passionate affairs all around her. But as she and her husband establish their family rituals and raise their kids, Shay finds herself in an unfamiliar spot.

She is increasingly drawn deeper into the logic and laws of the tropical paradise full of myth and magic that has yet to let go of its colonial legacy.
Soon after, two cultures collide at her door making for a great story of freedom, marriage, fate, loyalty, heritage and identity.

“Lost Hearts in Italy” by Andrea Lee opens with American Mira Ward relocating to Rome with Nick, her husband. She is looking forward to a time of awakening and exploration.

In love, beautiful and young she is giddy to be living abroad where she can pursue her dream of becoming an author. Traveling to Europe, she meets an older Italian billionaire named Zenin, whose worldly mystique and coolness intrigues Mira.

Several weeks later, adrift and feeling idle, she agrees to a date with Zenin and soon after they embark on an intense affair. It is not long before she is losing control as she cannot resist opulent getaways and clandestine trysts with Zenin to Venice, Paris, London and Monte Carlo.

Several years later, she has become the mother of a little girl but still cannot resist the relentless attraction Zenin has on her. With her marriage crumbling, her sense of self is going out with it until the free spirited woman she first arrived is completely gone.

Years later Nick and Mira, now divorced, look back trying to understand what happened that destroyed the good thing they had.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Andrea Lee

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