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Le Divorce by Diane Johnson
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Le Divorce (edition 1997)

by Diane Johnson

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904None9,701 (3.15)23
Member:sandykaypax
Title:Le Divorce
Authors:Diane Johnson
Info:Dutton Books (1997), Paperback
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:**1/2
Tags:fiction, Paris

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Le Divorce by Diane Johnson

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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Yes this is chick lit, but it's not fluff. A social commentary of a young woman, family relations, love relations, etc. in France. A good read, realistic. But if you don't know French, you may struggle a bit when french phrases and sentences find their way into the text. ( )
  screamingbanshee | Oct 1, 2009 |
Le Divorce is a fun book to read, written as a non-fiction but clearly a novel. Following Isabel Walker's antics is fun, and comparing her sister and her different outlooks on life can be amusing. I started the book, put it down, picked it up again, and then stayed up until early morning reading it. Excellent author, making the characters come to life.
  bakersfieldbarbara | May 14, 2009 |
My sister gave me this book to read on a long plane ride and I loved it. This story of two sisters and their lives, crises, and adventures is entertaining and informational (French culture, food, fashion, cafes). Another book I hoped would keep going. ( )
  melissavenable | May 10, 2009 |
This novel evokes the spirit of expatriates sojourning in Paris; it tells the story of Isabel Walker, a young film-school dropout who travels to Paris to aid her stepsister, who is going through a divorce. "You take for granted that your life will work out. When something calls that into question, then the entire world begins to seem like those films of demolition, silent fragments of roof and windows flying through the air with carefree velocity."

Beware the need to be armed with a French-English dictionary for translations since there were so many French words, phrases, and complete paragraphs in French that were not translated. It lends the novel certain flair but can be annoying at times.

Isabel's Californian upbringing, her ingrained sense of American freedom, and feminist slants comingle and clash with the customs, biases, and complex sexuality of modern Europe. She enters into a clandestine affair with a Frenchman and begins to develop her own opinions about what it means to be American or French, at home or foreign. Meanwhile the drama of Roxeanne's imminent divorce unfolds, entwining the two families in a dispute over a newly-valuable painting. As the plot rises, Isabel's family arrives in Paris to mediate, opposing forces clash more bluntly, and the situation becomes increasingly complicated.

The ending seemed to be abrupt for my taste, like it fell off a cliff and you're left hanging. The big plot question is: Will Paris defeat the sisters and send them home, or will they somehow learn to stand on their own feet and defend their ground?

"The affairs of ordinary life cannot be forced to fit in with all our desires. It was sometimes awkward to have my every step marked out for me in advance and all my moments counted."
~ 'Constant' by Adolphe

"But whoever it is who has thus determined the course of our life has, in so doing, excluded all the lives we might have led instead of our actual life."
~ 'The Past Recaptured' by Proust

...sins of self-indulgence, sins of indifference, sins of insensitivity.

Book Details:

Title Le Divorce
Author Diane Johnson
Reviewed By Purplycookie ( )
1 vote purplycookie | Apr 10, 2009 |
I bought this book because it had a really compelling blurb on the back: it sounded like such a good book.

I don't think it will really be worth your time.

There are some light, enjoyable moments. I enjoyed the French v. American culture play and some of the narrator's (Isabel's) introspection/thoughts. Perhaps this is why Ms. Francine Prose lists it among dozens of classic and contemporary book she thinks all aspiring writers and lovers of books should read "immediately"....

But there was just something lacking; I almost didn't make it all the way through. ( )
  AgentJade | Nov 15, 2007 |
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I suppose because I went to film school, I think of my story as a sort of film
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0452277337, Paperback)

Diane Johnson updates the transatlantic novel so gorgeously rendered by Henry James, Edith Wharton, William Dean Howells, and Nathaniel Hawthorne; evokes the spirit of such expatriates sojourning in Paris as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald; and mines the pathos of modern fiction in creating this wonderful and important novel. Isabel Walker, eerily reminiscent of James's Isabel Archer, is a young film-school dropout who travels to Paris to aid her stepsister, who is going through a divorce. Isabel's California cool, American freedoms, and feminist slants comingle, successfully and fractiously, with the customs, biases, and complex sexuality of modern Europe. The result modulates between introspection and hilarity, and a quick, Hollywood-inspired sweep of violent action in the end doesn't undermine the author's mastery of Old World vs. New--in fact, it provides an ironic scrim.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:38 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Pregnant and recently abandoned by her husband, Roxeanne Walker de Persand has her rough-edged sister, Isabel, come to Paris to help her through this period where the powerful Persand family is pushing for a divorce and control of a valuable Walker family heirloom.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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