Thursday, July 16, 2009

Foreign Tongue: A Novel of Life & Love in Paris

Foreign Tongue: A Novel of Life and Love in Paris -- Few streets have been more hungrily plumbed for romance than those of Paris, and Marsot's debut is no exception. Fluent in English and French, Anna leaves Los Angeles for Paris after breaking up with her boyfriend. She devotes her time to translating an erotic French novel into English and, at times, Anna's voice mirrors the tedium she ascribes to the task. Her frequent expositions on the nature of translation become miniature lessons on idiom, nuance and linguistics, ironically delivered with greater passion than the erotic scenes themselves, which fall flat. Though the plot generates a series of questions—will Anna end up with actor Olivier? will she keep her job despite her disgruntled editor? whose work is she translating?—Marsot is more interested in Anna's inner tumult. Despite Anna and Olivier's somewhat textbook love affair, the increasingly complex relationship between Anna and elderly bachelor Bunny helps shore up the novel. The stunning descriptions of Parisian food and social life will certainly satisfy Francophiles.

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