253rd out of 264 books — 119 voters
by Catherine Texier (Goodreads Author)
Texier, author of the 1998 memoir Breakup and three previous novels (Panic Blood, etc.), spins a steely, delicate fictional tale of unaccounted-for years in the life of her own great-grandmother, Victorine, who was rumored to have run off with a customs officer in the late 1890s, leaving behind her husband and two children in Vendee, France. Victorine first met Antoine whe...more
Published 2004 by Pantheon Books
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I am tripping OUT how low the ratings are for this book. We just read this for book club and it was a smash hit with everyone. Personally, I did have trouble at first with the actual topic. Maybe other people did as well? It's about a woman at the turn of the 20th century who bails out on her husband and two children to follow a childhood crush to Indochina. I was frankly pissed at her for the first quarter of the book! Crazy for the time, yes. Crazy now, in my opinion, which is the core of my i...more
An interesting book with vivid descriptions of life in Indochina. Victorine, married with two children, leaves an unhappy marriage and escapes to Indochina with her childhood sweetheart. They build a life there in the hot, humid weather, exotic flowers and swirls of opium smoke. Then, after 10 years, she goes back to France, back to her husband. She starts out planning to finally end things with him - ask for a divorce, explain things to her children - but she stays, has another child, lives out...more
Jul 08, 2007 Bonnie Gayle rated it 3 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who enjoy books about Victorian era Asia, romance readers
This story is about the author's Great Grandmother, who, while married with 2 kids, ran off to Indochine with the man she was in love with. The author 'filled in' her time in Indochine, so it is fiction based on family history. I liked this book, but I found it hard to like the main character, Victorine. She never seemed happy, no matter where she was and who she was with, and I could never personally leave any children I had behind, no matter what, so it was hard to connect with her. Despite al...more
Oct 30, 2008 Sandy rated it 3 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Recommended to Sandy by: found it on some shelf somewhere
Okay story of a french woman who leaves her husband & children to follow her lover to Cochinchina (Vietnam) in 1900. Some rich and beautiful imagery of life in Asia in that time.... having been to S.E. Asia I felt I could smell the frangiapani and the hibiscus and the heady scents of night in the region..... interesting from the standpoint of learning something about the life & attitudes of the 'cols' (colonials) at the time (Vietnam was a french colony at the time).
The imagined story of Texier's real-life great-grandmother, Victorine, who left her husband in France to live in Indochine w/ another man for several years. Engaging and sensual, similar in feel to Texier's earlier books. The character of Victorine is very sympathetic. This has made me very interested in reading Texier's other recent book, Breakup, about the break up of her own marriage after her husband left her for another woman.
2010- The story of a French woman who leaves her family to travel with her lover to Indochina is based on the author's great-grandmother. I first I wasn't sure I was going to like the author's sparse style or be able to relate to the main character. However, I thought the author did a great job of portraying Victorine's inner turmoil, while making the settings come alive.
I remembered about a chapter into it that I had already read it years ago. It really reminded me about what my mother must have felt like...not to comfortable of a feeling. Hummm, I wonder what my life would have been like if my mother had done what Texier's grandmother did...thankfully I will never know.
French woman leaves her husband and children to run away with her lover to Indochina. I enjoyed learning about the setting a lot- Indochina, Asian clothes and food, opium dens, etc.- but the story was just okay.
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