Inseparable throughout college, Eva, Benedict, Sylvie, and Lucien graduate in 1997, into an exhilarating world on the brink of a new millennium. Hopelessly in love with playboy Lucien and eager to shrug off the socialist politics of her upbringing, Eva breaks away to work for a big bank. Read more...
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Inseparable throughout college, Eva, Benedict, Sylvie, and Lucien graduate in 1997, into an exhilarating world on the brink of a new millennium. Hopelessly in love with playboy Lucien and eager to shrug off the socialist politics of her upbringing, Eva breaks away to work for a big bank. Benedict, a budding scientist who's pined for Eva for years, stays on to complete his PhD in physics, devoting his life to chasing particles as elusive as the object of his affection. Siblings Sylvie and Lucien, never much inclined toward mortgages or monogamy, pursue more bohemian existences-she as an aspiring artist and he as a club promoter and professional partyer.
But as their twenties give way to their thirties, the group struggles to navigate their thwarted dreams. Scattered across Europe and no longer convinced they are truly the masters of their fates, the once close-knit friends find themselves filled with longing for their youth- and for one another. Broken hearts and broken careers draw the foursome together again, but in ways they never could have imagined.
A dazzling depiction of the highs and lows of adulthood, Invincible Summer is a story about finding the courage to carry on in the wake of disappointment, and a powerful testament to love and friendship as the constants in an ever-changing world.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-04-11
- Reviewer: Staff
Adams’s fun and memorable debut is a tale of the friendship of four British college chums. Working-class Eva falls in with a magnetic pair of siblings, rakish Lucien and artistic Sylvie. Sylvie’s trajectory to success (according to the group) seemed “inevitable” due to “a certain shine, a vividness about her... causing people to cluster around her.” And finally there is Benedict: wealthy, humble, and a talented student of physics. Upon graduation in 1997, Eva, Sylvie, and Lucien head to London, where Eva has secured a traineeship at an investment bank, while Benedict stays behind in Bristol for a Ph.D. That summer, just prior to Eva starting her adult life, Benedict invites Eva to his family’s vacation home in Greece and almost manages to make a move on her, wondering, “Did she genuinely not know how beautiful she was?” From there, the story follows the group chronologically through the years as they make choices that bring them by turns closer to and further from each other and from the dreams they’d had as students. Adams’s characters have many ups and downs, disappointments and adjustments, but they are believable due to her understated exposition of the characters’ psychologies. The reader will stick with the book, not from a real sense of jeopardy about how things will turn out, but because the characters are such good company. (June)
A tale of 20 summers
Growing up and growing apart from friends is an inevitable—and bittersweet—part of life, one that has been poignantly captured in Alice Adams’ debut novel, Invincible Summer. The novel starts in 1997 as four friends graduate on the brink of a new millennium, and takes them through 20 summers.
Readers follow the characters through the decades, from the sunny coast of the Greek Islands to the rainy streets of London. Evie, the quiet and practical main character, finds her inner confidence while pursuing a high-profile finance job.The sweet and irresistibly lovable Benedict stays in academia to pursue a Ph.D. in physics, only to spend his life chasing scientific discoveries that are as frustrating as his love life. Added to the mix are cool siblings Sylvie and Lucien—who, despite their failures, are infinitely relatable characters. The creative Sylvie was marked from the start as a great artist but struggles to make her way in the real world, while her playboy brother works as a night club promoter.
Readers at any stage of life will see themselves within the pages of Invincible Summer and will recognize the terror of adulthood and the difficulties of keeping friendships alive. Adams, whose own background is as diverse as her characters’ (she has worked as a waitress and an investment banker, and has a B.A. in philosophy), particularly shines when focusing on Evie’s finance job. With beautiful attention to detail and keen observations on life, love and even finance, Adams has crafted a delightful novel that is as insightful as it is breezy.