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Sunday, 28 July 2013

David Lodge - Changing Places

reviewed by Brian Lowen live on the bookshow 25th July 2013
High above the North Pole in 1969, two English Literary Professors are approaching each other in Boeing 707s.

Philip Swallow is eagerly going to the University of Euphoria in the USA for a six month exchange with Morris Zapp who is reluctantly flying to England to spend a similar time at the University of Rummidge.  Philip has spent time in America before when he took a degree there and subsequently invited his English girlfriend, Hilary over to get married in the States and spend a glorious three week honeymoon in California.

He has now been married for several years and has three children. He is looking forward to escaping from his somewhat drab existence and returning to the sunshine way of life in California.

Maurice Zapp is reluctantly going to England for the first time, where he thinks it always rains, to postpone the inevitable divorce from his second wife, Desiree. He is a typical Yank – full of himself and his success, while Philip is just the opposite – quiet and studious.

Both encounter several adventures and end up having affairs with the other’s wives and when all four of them get to know what has been going on they hold a joint summit to decide on their future. 

A good story, especially if you enjoy English literature, as there are a lot of references to it and many strange words, but with a disappointing ending. Not as good as Paradise News, which was one of my all time favourite reads

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