Saturday, January 31, 2009

Le Divorce - Diane Johnson

Given the art on the cover of this book, and that it was made into a movie staring Kate Hudson, I always assumed this book was chick-lit. Then I discovered that the author has been nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize and I thought I better take a closer look. The reality is that this falls somewhere in the middle of mindless relationship nonsense and worthwhile literature. It is certainly better written than most chick-lit, and the dialogue between the characters is believable. The book features an American, Isabel, who travels to France to be with her pregnant step-sister Roxanne. Roxanne has recently been dumped by her Parisian husband for a a Yugoslavian mistress. In the middle of the divorce is a painting whose ownership comes in to question. There is a great deal of focus on the differences among Americans, Parisians, and the British. The book started out promising - I figured it would be a lot about the marriage and being an ex pat in Paris, but after about 150 pages, I completely lost interest. I found the characters boring despite the potential for complex inter-relationships, and the plot twists became too unbelievable in a way that I did not find satirical or humorous. I am surprised that this book won a National Book Award, and feel like I need to read more reviews on-line to find out the secret meaning I clearly missed.

No comments: