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Le Divorce by Diane Johnson

Le Divorce (edition 1997)

by Diane Johnson

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970148,895 (3.14)25
Title:Le Divorce
Authors:Diane Johnson
Info:Dutton Books (1997), Paperback
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:fiction, Paris

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Le Divorce by Diane Johnson



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Bei diesem Buch kann man mal wieder sehen, was Titel und Umschlag so anrichten können ;-) Was aussieht wie ein typischer Chicklit-Roman ist tatsächlich eine amüsante Familiengeschichte, die ihren Unterhaltungswert aus der Gegenüberstellung der französischen und der amerikanischen Lebensart bezieht.
Die junge aus Kalifornien kommende Isabel reist nach Paris, um dort ihrer Stiefschwester Roxy zur Seite zu stehen, die ihr zweites Kind erwartet. Doch statt eines erholsamen Frankreichurlaubes mit ein bisschen Babysitting gerät sie mitten hinein in die etwas chaotischen Familienbeziehungen ihrer Stiefschwester. Deren französischer Ehemann hat sie unmittelbar vor Isabels Ankunft verlassen, da er die Liebe seines Lebens gefunden hat, was seine Familie jedoch nicht daran hindert, die gemeinsamen Gepflogenheiten aufrechtzuhalten und das Vorgefallene diskret zu ignorieren. Isabel, neugierig und offen, registriert voller Interesse die unterschiedlichen Verhaltens- und Lebensweisen und lässt uns Lesende bis in ihr eigenes Liebesleben hinein (natürlich mit einem Franzosen!) daran teilhaben. Es geht um Gütertrennung, Geld, Essen (naturellement ;-)), Kunst, die Liebe und auch um den schlichten Alltag. Ein rundum schönes, unterhaltsames Buch, dass einem nicht nur die Franzosen sondern auch die Amerikaner näher bringt. Und manchmal, manchmal sind sie auch gar nichts so weit voneinander entfernt.
Übrigens, das Ganze wurde 2003 unter dem Titel 'Eine Affäre in Paris' mit Kate Hudson und Naomi Watts in den Hauptrollen verfilmt. Wobei der Schluss im Film offenbar wesentlich theatralischer ist als im Buch. ( )
  Xirxe | Dec 2, 2014 |
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 |
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:19 -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)

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