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Average Rating 3.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2005

    Wonderfully written, a little boring

    I read this book with a preset idea of what it was going to be about, however, it was not at all about what I thought. It is very beautifully written, however, very slow, and at times it can be boring. I couldn't wait for it to end, and when it did, I didn't feel any closure.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A funny novel

    In Palo, Alto, California, Amy Hawkins made a fortune in the dot-com boom. Feeling she owes for her fortunate life, Amy decides to improve herself before doing good deed. She heads to the Alps ski resort Hotel Croix St. Bernard in Valmeri, France where she plans to learn everything French in two weeks................................... The good deed surfaces when she pays for the return of dying publisher Adrian Venn, injured in an avalanche to England. Venn¿s family gathers to carve up the estate with each expecting to trump the other. Amy finds herself in a loony bin as Venn's two adult children and his illegitimate French daughter expect to eliminate their father¿s young comatose (from the accident) American wife and their infant step-brother from the estate competition before the final battle royal between themselves. Even the solicitors from France and England are skirmishing over who does what to whom arguing which country takes precedence. Finally there are also the outside straphangers ready to take a slice. With all that and bed hopping, romance, and affairs while everyone disparages those damn Yankees Amy Hawkins has learned a valuable lesson that no good deed goes unpunished........................... The key to this humorous coffin romp is the ensemble cast mourning their loss or celebrating their gain seem genuine as Diane Johnson provides a deep look at values. The story line is a comedy of errors with everyone misinterpreting the actions and motivations of everyone else because they constantly impose their values on how others will behave. Fans will appreciate this intelligent amusing but dark avarice bedroom manners Rape of the Lock........................................ Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2004

    a disappointing denoume

    After tearing through L'Divorce I was so excited to get my hands on another Diane Johnson novel and I was expecting to read about an intricate, complicated, and most of all interesting affair that I could live vicariously through. While it was intricate and complicated I am not sure that it was interesting. The novel seemed to fizzle toward the middle and even Johnson seemed to lose interest in her main character and started to concentrate on the side characters, their uninteresting affairs, and the happenings of a teenage boy. By the end of the novel I was happy to see that Amy Hawkins (the main character) managed to enjoy a brief portion of her trip to France. As usual Johnson's writing style is exciting but her poor choice of characters left me wanting a lot more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2003


    Perceptive and witty, popular novelist Diane Johnson struck it rich with 'Le Mariage' and 'Le Divorce' (later made into a top box office draw by Merchant/Ivory Productions and Fox Searchlight). Now, with 'L'Affaire' Ms. Johnson creates a protagonist who also has the Midas touch - Amy Ellen Hawkins, a young attractive American who has reaped a fortune as a executive. However, for Amy her vast wealth almost seems to bring more problems than pleasures. You see, Amy believes she must do some sort of payback for the blessings she has so unexpectedly and suddenly received. Thus, she first sets upon a course of self-improvement, 'an almost superstitious way of placating the gods for her recent good fortune.' Next, she hopes to find a cause, a sort of 'mutual aid' to which she can devote a portion of her considerable assets. She opts for a stay at the Hotel Croix St. Bernard in Valmeri, France where in a few weeks she intends to master French (the language and cuisine) in addition to absorbing other cultural niceties. She has gathered that this particular hotel is 'the choice of diplomats taking a break from Geneva, the occasional adulterous couple, well-off families with young children who like an early, assorted Eurotrash eccentrics bored with the relentless pace found in the larger hotels.' She is correct. Among Amy's fellow guests are a portly Austrian baron whose business is real estate, a rather threadbare but erudite English poet, Robin Crumley, an impossibly attractive television reporter, Emile Abboud, and, for a while, an English brother and sister, Posy and Rupert Venn. Unfortunately, Amy's idyll is interrupted by an avalanche which takes the life of Adrian Venn, and renders his much younger wife, Kerry, comatose. Kerry's infant son and teenage brother, Kip, are marooned at the hotel. Of course, Amy takes it upon herself to help the hapless and helpless young ones. She befriends Kip and makes arrangements for Adrian to be transported to England. However, her disposition to be a do-gooder has unexpected results - when Adrian dies on English soil litigation of the most complicated nature ensues. Now, toss in romantic entanglements that have developed among the guests and you have, to put it mildly, some complications. In the words of Ms. Johnson these complications make delightful, fun reading. The author, a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and three-time finalist for the National Book Award, once again proves her mettle. 'L'Affaire' is a bit of fluff laced with brandy - don't miss it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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