When it was first published in Great Britain, Foreign Parts was described as “a road movie for feminists . . . a funny, sharp and gutsy portrayal of female friendship,” and “a painstakingly crafted, multilayered investigation of contemporary female experience.” What begins as a driving holiday in Northern France for two Scotswomen turns into a caustic and funny account of dysfunctional relationships—both between men and women and between women friends.
Cassie and Rona—in their late thirties, both single and childless—are on each other’s nerves from the moment they cross the Channel: Cassie is testy and cynical, Rona patient and plodding. Both are self-conscious of the fact that they seem to fit the stereotype of two spinsters linked by loneliness, and consequently rebel against the notion that a woman needs a man to feel complete. Faced with the dilemma of “fancying men and not liking them very much,” the women ponder alternatives as they endure one tourist nightmare after another.