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Le Divorce (William Abrahams Book) Paperback – Bargain Price, July 1, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Generally, when one first reads a novel and then sees the movie into which the story is made, one inevitably says, "Oh, the book was better." Not so with LE DIVORCE.
Perhaps it is as much a tribute to the screenwriter as to the original author, but the film makes the story far more believable than the printed page did, and the characters also seem better developed. (Or maybe that's just due to the excellent casting and attractive actors who people the characters.) Even the climactic event which resolves the story seems, somehow, more plausible on the screen.
By all means, see the film if you're interested in this story. It will be quicker and far more pleasurable than reading the novel. And you'll be getting a swell travelogue about Paris at its most lovely, with its modern day aristocrats, thrown in for no extra charge.
All this complexity can be distracting; aside from the two central plots (the divorce and the affair) there are several subplots which appear at intervals and are never fully resolved. The final chapters of the book, rather than taking on the real work of finishing the story in accordance with its themes, create an artificial crisis, inconsistent with the book's tone and style, to provide a convenient resolution. The characters are sufficiently developed but not terribly likeable (the main character, in particular, is conceited and self-centered as well as naive). But, despite these drawbacks, the book is an enjoyable read. It is a pleasant mood piece, fun and frivolous. The Parisian setting and the enthusiastically described clothes and meals add a bit of exotic flair. At times, the story approaches the wry hilarty of an Austen-esque comedy of manners, and these are its best moments.
While in Paris, Isabel, who has been a bit of a wandering spirit with little to no sense of who she is, becomes enamored with an elderly gentleman who guides her into the life of pleasure that Paris has to offer. She enjoys politics, art, and the opera. The world opens before her like an oyster that produces the most opalescent pearl. “Le Divorce” surges on and things get ugly and scandals abound. It all comes to a most unexpected ending that I will allow the reader to discover.
Paris is presented to the reader like a fine jewel on a silver tray. A wonderful look at a different culture and how they view Americans. Superbly written and intelligently played out, I can see why this book was a National Book Award Finalist. (...)
The fate of the painting was a perfect deus ex machina to bring out the cultural issues that arise when two families from different countries become joined through a marriage. The author's knowledge of Paris, French life, and even French law was impressive and accurate. She did her homework.
There are many truths contained in this novel, and for that reason alone one might consider curling up on a couch one cold night and jumping in. That and the sumptuously described characters and settings that fill up the story. You will not be disappointed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Four words sum up this author: She totally gets it!! Diane Johnson was "right on" about so many aspects of Parisian life and about the lives of Americans living in and... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Santamarina
I was disappointed in the book. I had read "L'Affaire" of Diane Johnson before, but I won't bother to read more of her writing. Read morePublished 13 months ago by EMMS
I loved it. Of course, I love any book about Americans living in Paris. Any books with a French setting for that matter. Le Divorce is sweet and peppy... Read morePublished 14 months ago by BritLit teacher
It's easy to see why this book was turned into a Hollywood movie. It has a melodramatically faltering marriage, infidelity, a hot affair involving lots of strangely significant... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Anne-Marie
This is a fun, frothy read if you want to escape to France. Isabel goes to help her pregnant sister, Roxeanne, who has been abandoned by her French husband. Read morePublished 22 months ago by L. M. Keefer
The style is not great but it's the way ms Johnson writes her characters that brings this novel down. Read morePublished on February 9, 2014 by Paula de la Cruz
I tried. I really tried. The constant use of French phrases throughout got tedious and pretentious. I do know some basic French, but hey, not that much. Read morePublished on August 29, 2013 by Pat Gallagher