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L'Affaire

2.93  ·  Rating Details ·  723 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews

In Diane Johnson’s L’Affaire, Amy Hawkins, a smart, pretty Palo Alto girl who made herself a dot-com fortune, goes to France to get a sheen of sophistication and, perhaps, to have an affair that will ruffle her all-too-steady heart.  Amy starts her quest in the French Alps in the town of Valméri, amid an assortment of aristocrats and ski enthusiasts.

When two of the hot

...more
Paperback, 340 pages
Published August 31st 2004 by Plume (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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george ross
I enjoyed Le Divorce, and even Le Mariage, but somehow L'Affaire left me cold. Maybe it's because Johnson's insights into cultural misunderstandings are getting a little stale; maybe it's because she insists on writing the same book over and over. But in fact, I think it's because her characterizations of the nationalities involved have become broader and less kind since her first book.[return][return]In le Divorce, everyone had their little foibles and prejudices, but they were all basically li ...more
Stephanie Holcomb
Aug 12, 2010 Stephanie Holcomb rated it liked it
Hmmm.

This is the third Diane Johnson book I read and I really had trouble keeping my mind from wandering during it. Not that it was bad, it just didn't hold my attention the way L'Marriage and L'Divorce did, and it was mostly about who got what inheritance. I found the testament laws of France and England interesting, as I work Estate and Trust law, but I wonder if someone who didn't work in that field would find about the pages and pages of fighting over who got what.

Affairs? Yes, there are som
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Melissa
Apr 10, 2014 Melissa added it
Shelves: abandoned
So I never, NEVER EVER stop reading a book. Once I start reading I have the compulsive need to finish it. But I'm trying to allow myself more freedom in my reading habits and choices. I loved the movie, "Le Divorce," so thought this book would be a great read. 24 pages in and there's nothing to keep me reading. Also, all the negative reviews...I'm gonna follow my instincts early on and let this one go.

Do I feel weird inside? Yes. But it's just a feeling and there's way better out there to read!
Aubrey Taylor
Jul 31, 2011 Aubrey Taylor rated it did not like it
This was a tough book to get through. It was just boring. There was very little happening, and the characters were all stereotypical. Nothing made this book unique or special or interesting. I wouldn't recommend it.
Julie Hebert
Mar 31, 2009 Julie Hebert rated it did not like it
Boring!!
Helynne
Jul 25, 2008 Helynne rated it liked it
I found this third Diane Johnson novel about Americans in France just as worthy as Le Divorce and Le Mariage in terms of its humorous and serious look at the struggle for French and American people to comprehend and accept each others' cultural issues. Central in L'Affaire (2003) is Amy Hawkins, a newly wealthy dot.com executive from Palo Alto, who wishes to broaden her sophistication by living in Paris. The story begins, however, in the ski town of Valmari in the French Alps, where Amy becomes ...more
Susan Bogart
Jan 05, 2009 Susan Bogart rated it really liked it
What an interesting book! A newly wealthy Californian gets involved with a party of French, German and English visitors to a ski resort in the French Alps. An avalanche buries two, and Amy becomes increasing involved with the survivors, who are not entirely pleased with her do-good attempts to rectify some situations with the money she doesn't quite know what to do with. Returning to Paris for French lessons, culture, and developing a compelling need to buy a run-down chateau, Amy becomes even m ...more
Holly
Feb 18, 2013 Holly rated it did not like it
Shelves: meh, 2013, francophile
I think this book had no plot! Aside from being full of anti American snarky remarks, I could find no plot. At first I thought the moral of the story was no good deed goes unpunished. Nope, not it. Then maybe there's no place like home or home is where the heart is. Nope. Basically a story about a poor little rich girl on her quest to better herself, to find culture in France. Just a bunch of vapid self centered lunatics arguing over a dead man's estate. Though the difference in inheritance laws ...more
Cris
Dec 27, 2009 Cris rated it did not like it
I didn't get the point of this book. I read Le Divorce and liked it (granted, a while ago...maybe I didn't like it as much as I remember?) so I figured I'd like this book by Diane Johnson. But with a title as steamy as L'Affaire, you'd think it would be more interesting, not just a drawn-out, boring look at American and European cultures/people. It wasn't even so much about English and French inheritance laws like the jacket says. I thought it would at least be a funny look at these cultural dif ...more
Anne
Jan 24, 2009 Anne rated it it was ok
This book was interesting enough to keep me reading, but I kept wondering when something was going to happen. Enjoyed the commentary on cultural differences between Americans, British and the French, but at the same time felt like those differences were being trivialized by an elitist voice. I think the book was supposed to be humorous and satirical... making fun of the characters and their shallow desires. I realized midway that I had no sympathy for any of them!
Becky
Sep 07, 2010 Becky rated it did not like it
I really enjoyed Le Divorce, because the author did such a good job sympathetically portraying a vapid, insecure, poorly educated woman. That woman appears as different characters in, it seems, all of Diane Johnson's work. I liked everything after Le Divorce less and less and feel sure I won't read Diane Johnson again.
Drianne
Jan 02, 2011 Drianne rated it did not like it
Shelves: library, fiction
Bad chick lit. Not fun. Meh. Not enough Parisianity, stupid "plot," and man, were the characters vacuous, irritating, self-absorbed, stupid... I really have nothing against "chick lit," but this? Yick. Maybe if it had more French in it. That wouldn't have fixed her *abysmal* prose, however, her constant switchings of POV (in the same paragraph, even). L'avoid!
Karima
May 18, 2009 Karima rated it did not like it
A Pulitzer Prize contender?!?!?!
You've got to be kidding!!!!!
This was a silly cluster of cliches and predictability. I only picked it up to recover from reading DISGRACE by J.M. Coetze.
I needed something light, but not stupid!
Laura
This book was somewhat entertaining, and it was fun reading some of the perceptions of the main character, a young American in Europe for the first time. But the characters didn't really come to life for me, and so I didn't care much about them.
Jenn
May 24, 2010 Jenn rated it did not like it
one of the only books i've never finished. it was boring and didn't seem like anything was happening.
Liz Wrobel
Sep 03, 2010 Liz Wrobel rated it it was ok
I actually only got through half of this before becoming too unmotivated to pick it up and finish it...enough said.
Sara
Oct 08, 2011 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Call me superficial but I am becoming a fan of Diane Johnson. This does not equal her first novel, Le Divorce, and Amy does not become a presence immediately, the way Isobel does - but then Amy is a very different sort of American girl. You will either like her or you won't - she sort of grew on me in the course of the book. She has a tabula rasa quality and a lust for self-improvement which is more interesting as she begins to interact with the people she meets in France and begins to change.

It
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Diane C.
Nov 03, 2014 Diane C. rated it liked it
Diane Johnson's books have a large cast of characters, interacting, flawed, falling down, getting up, and her plots don't usually follow the usual steady, predictable arc. Rather, they wind around and follow different characters. This can become tedious, and yet I still love her books and read them all to the end. Sometimes I put one down for a bit, read another author for a while, and then return to hers to find out what the characters are doing for the rest of the book. Thought provoking stori ...more
Paulah
Mar 12, 2009 Paulah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Another delightful read from Diane Johnson. If you want to steep yourself in Franco-American culture clash, enter the world of Diane Johnson. Sharp, clear writing, memorable, well-defined characters, bizarre situations. I don't know why Hollywood has missed this series. Maybe anti-French sentiment? Her characters would say so.
L"Affaird is set in this decades at a ski resort in the French Alps, where a rich, young, attractive American woman trips over a very sticky situation a complex, dysfuncti
...more
Norma
Apr 02, 2014 Norma rated it liked it
Diane Johnson does tell a good story. Some years ago I read her two preceding novels about marriage and divorce, and my recollection was that they were entertaining, but not entirely satisfying as literature. Same thing with this one -- a complex story, but ultimately, because the women are "beautiful", the men are "handsome", and they so predictably end up coupling without much thought, a trifle shallow. I did appreciate the discourse on French inheritance laws as compared to those of England. ...more
Amy
Aug 31, 2013 Amy rated it liked it
I couldn't put down. Kept wondering what would happen to all these characters. Nice resolution for some. Loved that my predictions for others didn't come to fruition. Also, now on a quest to find perfume I can dab on my "temples, wrists, behind ears, and between 4th and 5th fingers," without repelling my husband, causing myself a migraine, and/or annoying the bulk of my fellow pew friends on Sundays.

Biggest love in this book is the idea that maybe my benevolent impulses to save someone/ somethin
...more
Sommer
Dec 17, 2008 Sommer rated it liked it
I can't say L'Affaire was as good as LeDivorce, by any stretch of the imagination but I was pleasantly surprised. It's basic Diane Johnson, American girl making her way among Europeans. At times, I got annoyed at the leaps in plot that Johnson made but her single girl observations on domestic women vs. non-domestic women kept me laughing and yearning to turn the page. A good passive weekend read for anyone wanting a laugh or two. Plus, the ending sheds light on the idea that traditional romance ...more
Bernadette
Mar 07, 2011 Bernadette rated it really liked it
A very entertaining and astute novel about cultural differences, mainly French and American. Amy Hawkins, a newly minted wealthy dot.com executive, travels to France to improve herself and obtain some European cultural polish. At the ski resort where she is staying, a couple is caught in an avalanche. The English husband dies but his American wife lives, leading to an extended struggle between the French and English inheritance laws and the families involved. Since I enjoy all things French, thi ...more
Farha Hasan
Dec 03, 2013 Farha Hasan rated it liked it
Diane Johnson's writing style is dry and dense. I had to force myself to finish this book. Hard to believe that it's a New York Times Bestseller. Most of the characters are not likable and the ones who do come off as decent are not very interesting. Totally, don't understand why everyone wants to sleep with Emile, or why a dot com millionaire is dependent on fax machines. I also did not like all the cultural stereotypes.
Starla
Apr 17, 2010 Starla rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-i-own
At page 206 I had to call it quits. I did try to understand these characters and get into the story, but it just didn't happen. The characters seemed superficial and the storyline seemed to drag on, and on, and on. Kip was the only character I felt was "real".
I don't think I'll pick up another Diane Johnson book, and that may be my loss, but after trying to read this one, I'll take that chance.
Wendy Hollister
Aug 17, 2009 Wendy Hollister rated it liked it
I have enjoyed other books by Diane Johnson (Le Divorce). I love the integration of French language into the story. Amy, the American who has made her money from the dot com industry finds herself embroiled in difficult life situations for which she is a suspect. I am curious to see how Diane manipulates the story.
Jessica
Jun 15, 2012 Jessica rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished


I'm not one to give up easily, but I really couldn't finish this book. The story plodded along, I couldn't connect with the characters and the whole thing just felt very disconnected from reality - yet not interesting enough to be considered quirky. I was expecting more witty banter and wry observations but unfortunately I was disappointed.
Kristin Dow
Jun 01, 2015 Kristin Dow rated it it was ok
Shelves: paris-france
Admire Diane Johnson's writing and of course loved the European setting and pathos. Interesting flawed characters and relationships. But this was not a page-turner and I had a hard time staying engrossed. In the end, I wanted more intensity and action. Thought the story had more potential than was realized.
Lori
Sep 26, 2010 Lori rated it did not like it
trying to finish this book...about 100 pages left to go. I am finding this book not too great, don't like the plot.

update: i don't like the story at all and i haven't continue yet. Just thinking of finishing it make me throw this book!
Susan
Jan 15, 2013 Susan rated it it was ok
A fun read until just about the end. I felt like the author lost steam and tried to find a quick fix way to end the story. I did find it very "educational" and will likely avoid buying property in France.
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Goodreads Librari...: Can I change the description? 5 35 Jan 31, 2012 09:26PM  
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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...

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