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Le Mariage

3.03 of 5 stars 3.03  ·  rating details  ·  808 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Marriage Admits Impediments


The great European novelists of the 19th century often took marriage as their topic. For Tolstoy, marriage was a lonely affair; for Flaubert, a tragic one. In America, it was a different case. Readers would be hard-pressed to find more than a casual reference to marriage in Melville. The 20th century, in turn, produced very few great novels of ma

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Hardcover, 322 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Dutton Adult (first published January 1st 2000)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,280)
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Kwesi 章英狮
Dear Diane Johnson,

I don't know how to start my freaking letter about your books. Generally, most of your books that I read have this one star trying to shine like hell waiting for changes. Okay, I'm not angry, sad or, of course, happy of your works. They are very fragile in a sense that they have good covers, simple but very doddling elegant for me. Unfortunately, inside, it was the worst experience I ever felt in my entire life. I'm trying not to be rude but your books are killing me softly,
...more
Robin
This novel is about events leading up to the impending marriage of a Parisian horse-memorabilia dealer and a journalist born in America who has lived in Europe for many years. The plot is ostensibly about recovering a stolen illuminated manuscript whose subject is the end of the world. Johnson creates characters delightfully: the sullen American expatriate movie producer/art collector, his sad and beautiful former movie star wife, the shy yet manipulative Oregonian antiques dealer, the bride’s n...more
Helynne
The best part about this novel, which is linked loosely through a few characters to its prequel, Le Divorce, is its emphasis on the tragi-comic snafus in French-American relations and everyday attempts of French and American people to understand one another without becoming too exasperated. American journalist Tim Nolinger is engaged to French flea marketer Anne-Sophie, and the main plot revolves around their often frustrating, often hilarious attempts to reconcile themselves to one another's c...more
Evelyn
pretentious crap, silly underdeveloped characters, interesting plot twists that unfortunately by the end went nowhere... i was annoyed reading the book at the shallowness of the characters and not even the final shootout could save it for me.
Katy
What I like about Diane Johnson's amusing comedies of manners are her extremely apt yet remarkably detached observations on cultural life, French and American.
Antof9
I had no expectations for this book, and started reading it with interest. What I couldn't decide in this book was if the author was trying to compare and contrast the sexes, or Americans vs. French. She sort of did both, but I couldn't help but wonder if she'd placed all the characters in one locale with a similar nationality, if she'd have hit the mark better? It's not that this book couldn't have both, but it seemed weaker because she was trying to hit both. Maybe what I'm really trying to sa...more
Sara
Aug 09, 2011 Sara rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Francophiles, character lovers, those with a quirky sense of humor
Recommended to Sara by: I read another of her books and was curious
Yes, this book is light reading, but I found the characters to be both amusing and memorable - not a bad achievement! The beautiful American Clara Holly is married to the self-absorbed Polish film director Serge Cray, and the footloose, feckless American Tim Nolinger is engaged to the horse-mad French antique dealer Anne-Sophie d'Argel, whose mother is the soixante-huitard and self-consciously avant-garde novelist Estelle d'Argel. What happens to these two couples as their lives become entangled...more
Sandi
While French vs American social mores and perceptions are the running themes the book, I am not sure what it means that the only characters who led my interest were two Americans, Clara Holly Cray and Tim Nollinger (with an honorable mention to one of the French characters Antoine Persand). Many of the other characters, French and American alike are just not interesting, likable or in any way relatable. Whether this was meant to be a French trifle on marriage and trust I don't know, as this stor...more
Mike
Johnson is a really clever writer with a distinctive style - wry and sardonic and outright funny at times. This book is filled with interesting characters and sub-plots, with insights into human nature, and plenty of ideas to chew on.
Amy
Meh. Or "le meh"? I was disappointed with this book, especially after the glowing reviews from the NY Review of Books, NYT, Chicago Tribune, etc. Definitely some good things going on and some fascinating characters, but there was too MUCH going on... and therefore, Johnson just can't give all the plot strings the attention they need. The whole manuscript thing went right over my head. I felt like I got to know Clara very well, but Tim remained an enigma. How was the situation back in Oregon reso...more
Nikki
Aug 31, 2008 Nikki rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those searchin for the more intellegent chic lit
Recommended to Nikki by: jose. he is not on here.
i liked Le Divorce better. i did not like any of the characters in this book. and the murder mystery was such an afterthought making this reader wonder why she needs it, as if she could not carry the novel on social/national stereotypes alone. her books do that: a little mystery, little love and angst, little social commentary and always americans in France, usually Paris. i like the way she writes, she is smart and witty, but i didn't feel like hoping for any of the characters and i need that i...more
Jeanne
Marriages, both established and pending, are explored in this quirky novel. Clara and Serge are the established couple: a one-time actress and director. Anne-Sophie and Tim are the soon-to-be married couple: the French woman and the American.

Ah, yes, the conflict between the French and the Americans. By the way, Clara is also from the States.

Cultural conflict, secret crushes, cold feet, and a stolen manuscript are just part of this novel’s wackiness. The characters are interesting, and the sub...more
Annie Kaye
Gosh, I hate giving up on books. I always remember how I thought A Tale of Two Cities was so boring till I reached the final section of the book, and then I didn't put it down for HOURS till I finished it.

This? Is not that. There wasn't a single interesting character, and the dialogue was written in such a way that I could barely follow the conversations. It was as if much was being communicated through meaningful looks and body language, but the author never bothered to tell us what they might...more
Stacey
Because I enjoyed Johnson's previous book 'Le Divorce' so much, I assumed that I'd find this one at least amusing - not so. While I enjoyed the glimpse of Americans living in France, the surrounding story and attempt at a suspenseful plot did nothing for me. Murder, Ancient Manuscript Theft, Love Affairs - this book could have been so promising, yet the storyline never delivered. Save yourself some time and read 'Le Divorce' instead (although don't rent the movie, even Kate Hudson couldn't save...more
bookczuk
Mar 28, 2009 bookczuk marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This is another book given to us by a friend. Bumma read it, but I haven't had the courage. You see, my second language is Spanish, and I never took any French. When I saw the number of times Bumma scurried to her French dictionary while reading this, I got scared off. Then, another book by the same author got made into a chick flick and I shoved this book even further down my TBR pile. It's probably a very nice book and I shouldn't have such preconceived notions about it, but can't help it.
Suzanne
I was disappointed reading this book because the former editor of the NYT Book Review said he reads anything Diane Johnson writes simply because she writes so well, but I just wasn't that into it. I didn't care about the characters that much even though I was super into the idea of Americans in Paris. Who isn't? But she played up the cultural differences so much that it seemed stereotypical. I suppose this could have been meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but it wasn't working for me. Tant pis!
Andrea
Jun 22, 2008 Andrea rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: light-hearted readers
Recommended to Andrea by: just found it in the library
I have been in a Jane Austen mood and needed a break. Well, this was just about as far from Jane Austen as I could get. I had a hard time getting into the book, but by about chapter 5, I was somewhat interested. There were a lot of cultural stereo-types, which were funny at times, but also somewhat naive or shallow. The story-line was unbelievable, but still somehow managed to entertain. A good book if you don't want to think or dig deep. A light summer read.
Corey Yanzito
I gave up! I trudged through Le Divorce and (since I aquired both at a local thrift store) attempted to follow it with this book. Each night I'd open the book and make it through a few pages. After a month or so, and less than half the book, the stack of other books collecting dust on my night stand convinced me that perhaps, although well written, it was time to put this one down in favor of something new.
Jean
This was a fun book to read, not always completely believable, but I really liked the parts about the misunderstandings and prejudices of the Americans toward the French, and vice versa. And the main male character was very believable, and likeable. I read this when I was sick and needed something amusing, and it was just what the doctor ordered. Years ago I read her book, Le divorce, which was also funny.
Nia Forrester
This book launched my phase of infatuation with Diane Johnson and her work about expats, a culture with which I am very familiar. I still read snippets of this book and Le Divorce (never, never, never see that movie, it was an awful adaptation) every once in awhile. The author has a wonderful eye and ear and attention for the detail that distinguishes one culture from another, and the idiosyncrasies of each.
Jenn
This one has been on my bookshelf forever so in an effort to clean up a bit i figured I might as well read it. I would say that it was not anything special. It followed a few months in the lives of couple soon to be married in Paris and some of the people they encounter along the way.

I found it to be pretty boring with no real point. I wouldn't recommend spending your time on it.
Christina
Aug 07, 2008 Christina rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: francophiles, but maybe not even them
Shelves: adult-books
Oh I don't know. I didn't really like the characters and it took be until about half way through to actually get into it. Seemed a mish-mash really, never getting to know the characters at all. At least one of the characters should have been developed more than the rest. I also probably should have had a french-english dictionary at hand while reading but I couldn't be bothered.

Judy
Ho hum. I finally picked up one of Diane Johnson's books. This one, with a subplot of an apocalyptic gun-carrying home-schooling cult in Oregon on the eve of Y2K, its discussion of the ethics of hunting and infidelity, and the interminable question of whether Tim and Ann-Sophie really will get married left me cold--though I did finish the book.
Kuladima
This book was interesting in the beginning, and it kept on building up, and then it just crashed towards the end. It left a lot of questions unanswered, and not in a deep satisfying way. It just seemed to stop abruptly. I like when books leave certain things unresolved, but this one really left everything unresolved in an uncomfortable way.
Millicent
Thoroughly enjoyed this book---mystery, romance, intrigue. Recommend this for anyone who just wants a nice little book to read!
Krob
I just like Diane Johnson. This book about the marriage of a French girl to an American stresses the difference between the two cultures. Improbable plot, but funny. Slightly dated with the Y2k references, but I intend to listen to her other books. Very good narrator.
J
Diane Johnson really drags this story out. I found myself wanting to get to the end just to see how she tied it all together. I did enjoy the continuity and references of characters from her other books and I always enjoy a good story about France.
Anika
Just recently re-read this one as it was sitting on my bookshelf at a moment when I needed something lighter. Did the trick. I had forgotten how enjoyable this one was. Remarkably similar to Peter Mayle's fiction.
Sylvia Tedesco
This was a fun break to read. I got out my French dictionary and read it in short bursts. She isn't much on realistic plot, but her characters' views on French/American attitudes is really delightful.
Tristy
All these characters are totally dead inside and self-obsessed to boot. Is it a mystery? Is it a sad commentary on marriage? Is it the story of "Americans in Paris?" It is all of these things and yet none.
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Diane Johnson is an American born novelist and essayist whose satirical novels often contain American heroines living abroad in contemporary France.

Born in Moline, Illinois, Johnson's recent books include L'Affaire (2004), Le Mariage (2000), and Le Divorce (1997) for which she was a National Book Award finalist and the winner of the California Book Awards gold medal for fiction.

More about Diane Johnson...
Le Divorce Lulu in Marrakech L'Affaire Persian Nights Into a Paris Quartier

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