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It Takes Two: A Novel Hardcover – November 3, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former model and dance devotee Chen brings a lusty exuberance to this telenovella-like tale of a 50-year-old writer who, stuck in a staid marriage and a boring New York life, retools in Buenos Aires and in short order nails love with a handsome, younger doctor, friendship with like-minded women and gorgeous young dancers, and the tango. I can't believe I'm the same Francesca who only a week ago sat terrified and intimidated in a corner, the liberated ex-Manhattanite gasps. Falling in love with Roberto, whose marriage is on the rocks, awakens Francesca's sexual desires, bringing her to new orgasmic heights that, even if they don't make much sense, are pretty hot, anyway. Chen takes her adventure over the top with this breathless, lush take on middle-aged romance, sex and happy endings; people inhale their food, are consumed and pulsing during sex and shiver and cry inside from happiness. Sure, it's cheesy, but there's an undeniable charm to the optimism. (Nov.)
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Review

"I haven't had so much fun (or such very good weeps) with a novel in years. Patrizia Chen has a wickedly original voice, and with it she dances you through a tango of love and sex to tell a story that is at the same time steamy, smart, tender, trenchant, and supercool -- not to mention as full of life and risk as it is wise. Remember Freud's old question: What do women want? If you still don't know, you'll find the answer in It Takes Two." -- Jane Kramer, author of Lone Patriot

"The world according to tango -- where miracles occur and where dance, music, and sultry nights in Argentina lead us through a maze of pleasure that turns into obsessions. Patrizia Chen's world is a place that everyone's body, heart, and mind have longed for their whole lives. Some of us see it from across the bank, others are bold enough to buy round-trip tickets there, and some, having crossed the bridge, burn the bridge." -- André Aciman, author of Call Me by Your Name
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (November 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416570616
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416570615
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,689,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By L. Young VINE VOICE on December 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Fracesca, a fifty year old Italian beauty is married to an American (but European educated)banker, George. Living in New York, with grown up children, George and Francesca's marriage is disintegrating, their sex life non-existent. Francesca fills the void with work as a travel writer. Her latest assignment takes her to Buenos Aires to write about plastic surgery and the tango. In BA she falls in love with the city and is increasingly drawn to the erotic dance movements of the tango. She is befriended by two young tango dancers, Luis who is gay and Analia a young beauty and talented dancer. As Luis and Analia fall in love, and Luis struggles with his sexuality, Francesca is drawn into a passionate affair with Roberto,a very handsome plastic surgeon who is a doctor to the rich.

It was the exotic setting of Buenos Aires and the tango that drew me to this novel, and the beauty of the city and the dance are portrayed well (thus the one star). All else in this novel is pure trash. The dialogue is cliched. The plot (what there is of it) is poorly handled with Francesca endlessly reviewing her failed marriage and her guilt over her relationship with Roberto. Similiarly Luis enlessly obsesses over Analia and his sexuality. The novel quickly becomes repetitive and boring, and then downright irritating. Given the other reviews of this novel I can only wonder if the other reviewers are friends of the author. The book jacket says this is Patriza Chen's first novel. May it be her last.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marilyn Mendoza on February 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am disgusted by this book. The author who has considerable knowledge about tango but zero about writing "created" such an unlikable character that I wanted to shake her. We hear about her husband who ignores her, her children who made the horrible mistake of growing up and her being so beautiful and from such a distinguished family au nauseum. It gets worse. Her characters are so unbelievable, not at all fleshed out and she makes the fatal mistake of telling, telling, and more telling of other peoples sad stories. There is no showing except for the sex that in the "end" can only be called gross.
I finished it, I admit. That is where my one star comes from. But like overeating donuts, it left a bad taste in my mouth.
Francesa the main character speaks Italian and Spanish and Tango and the author is so disrespctful of her readers she doesn't bother to translate most of it
In one ironic part Francesca who is also an author quotes a famous Italian author saying that writing is like extending your hand; the reader will only take it if it is warm and friendly. This book is anything but warm. The main charater/author is so in love with herself, there are more "I" statements than should ever be in any book. The main character lacks character, lacks gratitude for anything but her beauty, her sex life and her wonderful cooking. Her husband who we never really know much about and their life in NYC (which sounded pretty good to me) is trashed as anyone else who dares to not agree with her. The other characters, are cartoonish. These include a bisexual confused massochist (an insult to homosexuals) his female and male lovers, her good friend who is given one story line at the end.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michele on February 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unreadable. Ridiculous.I bought this book because I am a fan of the Argentine Tango. Basically a very very bad romance novel (for 50 yr. olds, who have the brains of 13 yr. olds)combined with a "I'm so hip" travel book for Buenos Aires. Ugh. Do yourself a favor, and just buy a travel book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R Dunford-Maykall on November 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Reading this I felt so inspired by Francesca... It makes me want to fly to Argentina at once to seek out my own adventure! A must read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By H. Ricard on January 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book has it all..tango, hot men, even hotter sex, and great food! I startd reading it on Wednesday evening and I was done by Sunday night - I did take Saterday night off to attend a milonga, I had to satisfy my own addiction to tango ;). It Takes Two accurately describes the alchemical properties of tango, as your body becomes more supple and easy, tango can transform your body, your life, your mind... the heroine Franchesca experiences this as she learns to dance tango during her trip to BA.
The writing is lyrical and easy to read. I wish the author had included the recipes for all the delicious italian dishes mentioned, they sounded so good, I am inspired to make them myself...perhaps in the sequel?
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By K. Scott on October 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
IF YOU LOVE BUENOS AIRES, TANGO, SEX, OR ALL THREE, you'd better not pick up this book until you have a weekend free or you'll find yourself calling in sick so you can finish it. Even as the story races along, you want to stop to enjoy Chen's portrait of the old city and its tango milongas, the little streets full of antique shops and accordion players.... I loved this book. It's like a holiday in Buenos Aires -- with all the romance you could hope for.
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