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French Lessons by Ellen Sussman
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French Lessons

by Ellen Sussman

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1992959,063 (3.19)5
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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
I was just bored. I tried a couple of times and just gave up! ( )
  olegalCA | Dec 9, 2014 |
I was just bored. I tried a couple of times and just gave up! ( )
  olegalCA | Dec 9, 2014 |
I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway (my first) in ARC format. The bio about the author says that she's a Stanford professor in creative writing, which made sense after I finished the book.

Sussman has a beautiful way of painting a character portrait with a few brush strokes, powerful imagery and sensory details. She invokes a great deal of emotion in three short stories, then ties them together at the end. Her writing was impressive, but the characters were not very likable.

Each of the short stories focuses on extramarital affairs from different angles: the long-term mistress, the one-time fling, and the gosh-I'd-really-like-to fantasy of one character. While the intense stream-of-consciousness of each character was intriguing, the subject matter was distasteful to me, so the reading was less enjoyable. ( )
  CyndiTefft | Feb 6, 2014 |
A story set in Paris looking at the nature of love. A light read. Three French language tutors take their students around Paris for a days lesson. Each of the students is trying to get away from something and find their way through it.. ( )
  kiwifortyniner | Nov 30, 2012 |
Full review on Reader's Dialogue: http://readersdialogue.blogspot.com/2012/09/french-lessons.html

French Lessons is ultimately a hopeful book with a positive message about love, but for the majority of the book, hopelessness and despair drenches the pages. And I love how that's achieved - short, terse sentences, dialogue with very few taglines, quick repartee among the characters. It draws you in, especially Josie and Riley's stories, until their grief and wild desperation seep right into you and fill you up.

I love how time is used in the book, how the characters move back and forth between the day that is the present and their memories of what's happened up until then to bring them to the state they're in at this point. The seamless interweaving works beautifully to transcend time and make their experiences timeless. Josie's story also works really well because her grief is portrayed through that cutting back and forth, in the way a grieving person would really remember things in fits and spurts throughout the day. ( )
  EstherShaindel | Sep 6, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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For Gillian and Sophie, my Parisian girls, and for Neal, mon amour.
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Brilliant sunlight spills through the windows of the Vivre a la Francaise language school.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways.

Josie, Riley, and Jeremy have come to the City of Light for different reasons: Josie, a young high school teacher, arrives in hopes of healing a broken heart. Riley, a spirited but lonely expat housewife, struggles to feel connected to her husband and her new country. And Jeremy, the reserved husband of a renowned actress, is accompanying his wife on a film shoot, yet he feels distant from her world.

As they meet with their tutors—Josie with Nico, a sensitive poet; Riley with Phillippe, a shameless flirt; and Jeremy with the consummately beautiful Chantal—each succumbs to unexpected passion and unpredictable adventures. Yet as they traverse Paris’s grand boulevards and intimate, winding streets, they uncover surprising secrets about one another—and come to understand long-buried truths about themselves.
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A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways.

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