Love in Idleness 2003
Bel Mooney, The Times.
"Craig writes with charm and wit and what in other hands might seem tipsy and overblown remain in the region of delight."
The New Yorker.
"Craig's secret weapon is charm, a quality so rarely found in American fiction that it makes her books nearly as exotic as a new bildungsroman from Bali..."
Laura Miller, The New York Review of Books.
"Rare ingenuity and charm...the resulting romantic complications, comic set pieces and heart-warming consclusion make this the most accomplished reinvention of Shakespeare's Dream since PeterBrook's influential RSC production in 1970."
Michael Arditti, The Daily Mail.
"It's a delightful novel, and one
that in its blending of extreme artificiality and naturalism
has a very distinctive tone. It's also one which seems,
the more you think about it, a great deal more serious
than self-conscious books about the grimness of existence.
Serious and fun, if disconcerting maybe for anyone thinking
it the ideal read for a holiday in the sun."
Allan Massie, The Scotsman
"It is as if Craig applies a potion to her readers' own eyelids, drawing them deep into an enchanted dream where her hold over them is complete."
Anthea Lawson, The Observer.
"This charming novel re-enacts Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream as domestic realism....Craig, a compassionate and good-tempered fairy godmother waving her wand, presides wisely and kindly over the comedy of errors."
Michele Roberts, The New Statesman.
"Craig's reworking of A Midsummer Night's Dream is light and sparkling, not heavy and pretentious...there are sophisticated pleasures to be had for those who spot the links and relish Craig's adroit manipulation. The novel works brilliantly as a sharp and funny analysis of modern mores, a magical story of transformation - and only after that a clever literary joke."
Suzi Feay, The Independent on Sunday.
"As readers will have come to expect form this author, her story is carefully plotted, its prose sharp, it characters nicely, sometimes mischievously observed. While eschewing the glittery malice of A Vicious Circle and the compelling, dark undertow of In a Dark Wood, she has produced a playful contrivance that follows the plot of A Midsummer Night's Dream while owing its major debt to A Room with a View."
Barbara Trapido, The Independent.
"An absorbing, playful summer read."
Erin Baker, The Daily Telegraph.
"Craig's rich, honed style and dry comic touch (are) perfectly teamed with a subject as juicily fraught as that of friends taking an up-maket villa holiday. It's the perfect up-market villa ho,idya read, in fact."
Wendy Holden, The Literary Review.
"Amanda Craig's fifth novel contains all the ingredients likely to make it both a literary and a commercial success....This is fiction at its best:sparkling, witty, readable, though-provoking but not taking itself too seriously."
Vanessa Curtis, Scotland on Sunday
"Craig's winsome spin on A Midsummer Night's Dream inventively commutes the play's action to a Tuscany of the chattering classes, the intoxicating and languid atmosphere of which chimes perfectly with the fugue-like events that overtake the protagonists....The real spell here, though, is the one cast by Craig's prose, mixing the novel's frivolous merriment with wry insights into human compatability and recapuitualting the Dream's central thesis that "the course of true love never did run smooth."
Trevor Lewis, The Sunday Times.
When an American lawyer, Theo Noble and his English wife Polly invite five friends to come and stay with them for a fortnight in Tuscany, they have no way of knowing they will all soon be embroiled in a modern version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. For as well as Polly’s old school friend, Hemani, Theo’s brother Daniel, Daniel’s girlfriend Ellen and his friend Ivo Sponge, they have Theo’s mother Betty – a woman who can curdle mayonnaise at thirty paces. Polly hopes that her mother-in-law will tame her two feral children, Tania and Robbie, and make them as well-behaved as Hemani’s son Bron, but she has reckoned without the powers of strong imagination – and the mysterious atmosphere of the beautiful Casa Luna. So, too, has Ellen, who is determined to get Daniel to propose to her; Hemani, who as a single parent is desperate for love; Ivo, as notorious for his passes at women as his elegant film reviews; and Daniel, a gentle man continually being nagged by his mother to marry. By the time Guy Weaver arrives, the holiday has become a place not of relaxation and peace but of ferment and conflict.
As the temperature rises, it becomes increasingly hard to tell what is imaginary and what is real. Love and pride, money and dreams, childhood and adulthood all collide in a comedy that can only be resolved one magical midsummer night..