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A Foreign Education is one of those books with the premise to be either an unputdownable triumph or a clichť-ridden disaster. University and College sex comedies have seen both very good and very bad productions, many more of the latter it must be said.
Craig Alan Williamson, therefore, has trodden a treacherous path with his debut novel but has managed to negotiate the way with flawless ease and create something close to perfect.
Set in and around the University of Colorado, the story centers on the trials and exploitations of Ross Cooper, a British exchange student on his first visit to America. Immediately finding himself surrounded by an array of outlandish and unique characters, as well as more gorgeous girls than a young student could ever desire, the last thing Ross is expecting is to fall in love. The following chain of events that interlink a full supporting cast, a handful of plot twists and a touching romance make it a very interesting term for Ross and his friends.
Williamsonís style is exceptionally easy on the eye, something that many established authors should take note of. Simple prose can be just as effective as that written with the aid of a dictionary and an academic vocabulary. The pages turn faster than a language lover will want them to as the story pulls the reader along for the ride. The charms of this very British comedy in a very American setting are hard to resist.
Williamson has created an updated Porkyís with a heart and soul, and dreamed up some of the most enigmatic and instantly memorable characters of recent times in the world of comedy Ė special mention must be given to Rossís fellow student, Kazuki, who enters the story in the most visually hilarious way and is a comic creation nothing short of genius.
My one very small gripe with the book is the ending does seem to go out with a whimper once all matters are resolved, and the final paragraphs seem rather abrupt, but by the time I made it to the end I didnít care about that Ė I just didnít want the story to end at all. Iím sure there could be further tales to tell of either Ross or his friends in the future.
An amazing debut full of promises that are not only delivered but exceeded in every way, and if this doesnít boost University waiting lists then I donít think anything ever will.