Andorra A Novel

Peter Cameron




Trade Paperback

272 Pages



Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy
For mysterious reasons, a man forsakes his American life and arrives in a strange country called Andorra. He settles into the grand—and only—hotel in its seaside capital, and gradually makes the aquaintance of this tiny city's most prominent residents: the ancient Mrs. Reinhardt, who has a lifetime lease on the penthouse in the hotel; Sophonsobia Quay, the kayaking matriarch of an Andorran dynasty; and the Ricky Dents, an Australian couple who share a first name, a gigantic dog, and a volatile secret. As the stranger reveals himself to his new friends, and becomes entangled in their lives, the mystery of his own origin deepens. What is he hiding, and why? And when a mutilated dead body appears in the harbor, everyone is a suspect, including our narrator. Part thriller, part comedy of manners, part surrealistic dream, Andorra is "a work of remarkable and sustained invention and imagination . . . a nearly perfect book" (Robert Drake, The Philadelphia Inquirer).


Praise for Andorra

 "[A] marvelous mood piece about lying and truth telling, escape and discovery, and the weird calm at the heart of desperation."—The New Yorker

"Wonderful . . . Like so many good novels, Andorra ends badly for the characters but well for the reader. Mr. Cameron steers us through the final, fantastical events of Alex’s story with an unfaltering hand."—Margot Livesey, The New York Times Book Review

"Controlled, precise, pellucid, Mr. Cameron's prose brilliantly transmits the moment-by-moment feel of his protagonist's sojourn in a country that finally does not allow him to escape from himself."—Merle Rubin, The Wall Street Journal

"As eerily beautiful as it is laced with threat . . . Andorra is a revelation."—Michael Upchurch, San Francisco Chronicle

"Andorra does everything you want fiction to do—entertain, turn tricks, surge with unexpected feeling, send you transformed back into your life—but it does it with that delightfully un-American virtue, a light touch."—John Weir, The Village Voice

"A dark, intoxicating fable about the limits of imagination and the power of memory . . . a poignant, entertaining success."—Newsday

"In addition to its quirky elegance, Andorraexerts an almost hypnotic fascination . . . Redolences of Kafka and Buzati and Nabokov."—The Washington Post Book World

"[Andorra is] on the same map with Nabokov's Zembla and Borges's Tlon, Uqbar, and Orbis Tertius."—Boston Sunday Globe

"Offbeat, beautifully written . . . it's the real thing."—Mademoiselle

"His craft shines . . . Aching elegy, acid comedy of manners, literate mystery—Andorra is all of these and more."—Out

"Precise, unsettling . . . Cameron's sly, complex characters, wonderfully intelligent dialogue, and masterful pacing combine to create a cumulatively powerful tale of the unforgiving workings of fate."—Kirkus Reviews

"An affecting fictional journey into an unfamiliar geographic place and into the mind of a deeply troubled human being."—Booklist

"Delightfully quirky . . . Cameron has created a stylish novel of deceit and desire with a twist at the end that makes it all work all that much better. Highly recommended."—Library Journal (starred review)

"Concealing a dark fable about the transcendent power of the imagination within a slyly ironic tale about a man of refinement and vague intention traveling to a tiny European nation, Cameron's third novel displays his gift for language and narrative hijinks in fullest flower. The narrator, Alexander Fox, 'compelled by circumstances to begin my life again in some new place,' arrives by train in La Plata, the sun-splashed, oddly desolate, Monte Carlo-like capital of Andorra. He quickly becomes the cynosure of two contrasting La Plata families: that of neurotic Australian Ricky Dent, always accompanied by her large dog, Dino, who falls in love with Fox—as does her husband, a troubled bisexual composer also named Ricky Dent; and that of kayaking La Plata doyenne Sophonsobia Quay, whose uncle Roderick leases his home to Fox, and who seeks to marry Fox off to her waifish daughter, Jean. We gradually learn that Fox, a former bookseller and architect, is fleeing a tragedy involving the death of his American wife and daughter. When he is implicated in a series of murders in Andorra and his passport is confiscated by the police, he is forced to flee the country. Fox, whose evasive speech and manners begin to follow a foxy pattern of self-delusion and caprice, is an extremely unreliable narrator. His Andorra, unlike the actual nation, is on the ocean. La Plata, a paradisial yet haunted landscape of doppelgangers and repetitions, increasingly appears to be little more than a projection of his own inner life. There's a delicate poignancy to this novel and to Cameron's surprising conclusion, as the glittering world of Andorra, which proves a consolation for the terrible reality of Fox's true circumstances, dissolves like a fantastic sandcastle in the face of real life."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

PETER CAMERON is the author of several novels,including Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You and The Weekend. He lives in New York City.

Read the full excerpt


  • Peter Cameron

  • Peter Cameron is the author of several novels, including Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You and The Weekend. He lives in New York City.

  • Peter Cameron Copyright Nina Subin