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Left Bank

2.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  761 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
Enter the world of Olivier and Madison Malin - glittering inhabitants of the Left Bank, they have a dream life in the exclusive neighbourhood. But when a new English nanny appears on the scene, she sets into motion a chain of events that could endanger the lives of the Malin family.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 25th 2006 by Headline Review (first published January 1st 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,256)
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Oct 23, 2010 Amy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my worst enemy
So. The cover is very pretty and I bought it for a few pence, so all is not lost. But - no. No, this was not for me. Maybe I should I have realised it wasn't going to be something I would love when the enticing quote on the front was from the Daily Mail. "I don't expect to find a more exquisitely written or enjoyable book this year!"

Well. How about Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, which also came out in 2006? Or The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier? Or Black Swan Green - one o
Jun 11, 2008 george rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Olivier and Madison Malin are France's golden couple--she a former Texan turned successful French actress, he the best philosopher of the day. The actuality of their lives, however, is not as glamourous as the magazines depict. They have grown apart and the only thing that connects them is their seven-year-old daughter, Sabine. Then one day, on a family outing to an amusement park, Sabine disappears and the couple are forced to come together.

This book is not good. In fact, I hated it. The charac
“Left Bank” has real promise, though it didn’t entirely deliver. There’s a great setting, of course, and fairly interesting characters. What separates a book like this from being literature, and leaves it in the chic lit category, is what Muir does (and doesn’t do) with these characters. I enjoyed the progress of the nanny and the American actress-turned-French celebrity, though I felt the philosopher/philanderer was left rather flat in comparison. This was an entirely enjoyable quick read, just ...more
Abigail Banfield
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 23, 2015 Kendra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is not what I thought it would be (from reading the back cover). It sounds sort of nice & pretty with a hint of suspense. It is actually more gritty, rough & satirical with a sense of bursting from a cocoon.

This book is not for someone that upsets at reading about poor morals. (The book goes rather into depth with the husbands affair.) However, there is always a silver lining in the cloud... not going into much detail on that.

Not really light reading, but not heavy either.
Mar 22, 2014 Abbie rated it liked it
Shelves: read-france
Certainly not a favourite, yet mindless enough to tear through on a lazy day off.
The Daily Mail says they "don't expect to find a more exquisitely written or enjoyable book this year." Obviously they didn't try very hard. As I am leaving for Paris in two weeks I thought I should give it a go. Set in modern day Paris, the book revolves around Oliver and Madison Malin. Two self absorbed pseudo intellectual leftist celebrities. Oliver is the second son of a landed Frenchman while Madison is a uber wealthy Texan who reinvented herself as a french actress that stars in soft porn ...more
Christy S
Jan 27, 2014 Christy S rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Any book set in Paris will inevitably be at least half love letter to the city, so for the most part you already know the themes and characters of this book at its title. Its pink cover gives you even more reason to pigeon hole it, but that’s fair.

For the most part I think Muir has succeeded, though. In her love letter to the city, and in the story she has created therein. She hasn’t left out the obligatory beautiful people, affairs, wealth, food in cafes, and young girl-seeking-new-Parisian-lif
Jayne Charles
Aug 04, 2011 Jayne Charles rated it it was ok
I'm not sure how this book would be categorised. It stands just the right side of chick-lit, and the characters are just about the right side of being caricatures, but unfortunately the story stands just the wrong side of interesting. Built around a rather trite storyline involving some pretentious characters getting a kick up the backside from their seven year old child, I'm presuming the story is intended to satirise philosophy-spouting tarte-crunching Parisian society, but all it seemed to do ...more
Stevie Lou
Mar 30, 2015 Stevie Lou rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fluff-fiction
The one enjoyable thing about this book was for once reading about really hideous, pretentious, selfish characters. I find a certain enjoyment reveling in other people's petty, inane lives - and this book provided just that. While I acknowledge crappy chick lit like this is really just a gossip magazine alternative, Left Bank does include some exploration of character and a bit of education on middle-class Paris life (although how realistic this was, I don't know). I'm not going to touch the aut ...more
Sep 19, 2010 Marianne rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, france, adultery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 14, 2009 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, chick-lit
This book tells the story of Olivier and Madison Malin, a couple living the glamorous life in Paris. She's a famous, American-born actress. He's a famous philosopher/ man about town. They're both miserable, self-obsessed workaholics who pay little to no attention to their six year old daughter Sabine. When Sabine goes missing, everything changes for the Malins.

It took me several chapters to really become engaged in this book. It's light, easy reading and I finished it very quickly. The problem i
Sarah Dodson-Knight
I'm a sucker for novels about Americans in Paris, and the satirical elements of this one make a welcome change from the "young woman falls in love and learns about herself" trope. Despite some eye-rolling stereotypical characters and predictable events, I was really rooting for Madison, Anna, and Sabine, and I like the way that Madison's character developed.
Robyn Gibson
Jan 17, 2016 Robyn Gibson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
French Olivier Malin likes to compare himself with Sartre and expect women to fall at his feet. His wife, Madison, born in Texas is comfortable being a French woman living in Paris. Their daughter goes missing at an amusement park and their lives change. They try to get their priorities right but Olivier can't quite change his ways. Very enjoyable.
Stephen Castley
Sep 13, 2015 Stephen Castley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun read that showcased Paris and sent up the lifestyle of certain elite groups. As I read, I could see Paris, a city that I love. Kate Muir has captured the beauty of the city and the shallowness of certain inhabitants. If you have a hankering to remember Paris and also have a bit of a laugh, you will enjoy this book.
Alexis Comose
Jul 13, 2014 Alexis Comose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book! If you are looking for an easy read and you have just visited Paris like I did then you will love this book. It's so very Parisian and I think it sums up Parisians very nicely, even Parisians who are not native. It ties together nicely in the end if you can catch the meaning, but there were a few loose ends that could've used some patching up.
Aug 20, 2014 Belinda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've tried to read this two or three times now but I just don't like it - I don't connect with any of the characters and don't care what happens to them. They all seem quite unpleasant and, despite reading the first 150+ pages nothing has yet happened.
Alexander Nikolai
Jan 25, 2014 Alexander Nikolai rated it really liked it
Anyone who agrees with the age old understanding that Paris is the capital of culture; fashion and love will be enthralled by this book.

Taking its reader from the boulevards of Sant Germain to the seedy backstreets of Montparnase - Muir weaves a titillating tale of love; sex and lies amid a backdrop of one of the most breathtaking cities in the world.
Aug 31, 2011 Lucy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Left Bank was a good book. The only problem was that because there wasn't really a main character and they all had conflicting interests, I didn't know who to support and root for. Anna was my favourite, mainly because she was young and had loads of cool vintage clothes. The setting - Paris - made the story seem more chic and stylish than perhaps it would have seemed in other cities.

The story confronted more issues than I would have expected from the pink cover. Overall I was surprised by some o
The only reason I'm giving this two stars is beacause it's marginally better than the last book I read, which was utterly dire. Like the sound of this book? Try reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog instead...
Jul 15, 2014 Jennie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Casual read but nothing too riveting. I picked it up on a whim, as it was facing outward at the library and I was short on time. I wouldn't read it again, but it kept me mildly entertained!
Apr 28, 2016 Cin marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Ich habe ein Buch bei registriert!
Kylie W
My mum picked this book up for me at the airport as she dropped me off to catch a plain to Paris.

This was the perfect book to read whilst in Paris. I think the author is an English woman who is living or has lived in Paris and brings interesting observations into the people and the city, as an outsider, that I found immensely entertaining. For example, the cafe tables are all tiny which allows people to bump knees more unobtrusively. And the French tend to be quite bureaucratic. And they have a
Sep 03, 2007 Jody rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love Paris, and books about the lovely city and its people. So I eagerly read this one. The cover is charming - in fact it might be the one reason I keep the book. Plus I do like her picture of Paris. However:

The premise - that a child's disappearence can do things to a family already in dire straits - is a given. And at first I rather liked the main characters, despite their foibles. But as the book went on I just got more and more tired of them acting like the lowest common denominators. I
Jan 01, 2011 Cindy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this novel on my way home from Paris at the airport paying a whopping 10.95 Euros (what was I thinking?). I was hoping to relive my Parisian second-honeymoon, exploring the streets, the cafes, the cultural icons, and the people. Having just finished the first eight pages I fear this is not a novel to do the job. So few other reviewers have liked the novel, some even giving up on it early on. I will let you know. I plan to give it a few more pages.....and now, 45 pages into it, I quit ...more
Feb 18, 2012 Clare rated it liked it
Not perhaps something i would immediately choose to read. The pink and rather girly front cover doesn't depict the maturity involved in the writing of this novel. A wonderful story influenced greatly by the setting of Paris. The book has no definite main character with each chapter developing the story from their own point of view. This technique is a wonderful and rather crucial factor to suggest why the book is so captivating and marvellous. Very deep characters with very interesting stories. ...more
Jul 24, 2009 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, 2012, 2013
I have already read this book but saw it at the library and had to get it again and re-read it. It is funny, satirical and well-written. Kate Muir is a newspaper writer in London but was working in Paris for a number of years. I didn't really think about it the first time I read this but the two main women in the book are not French! The oh so "french" actress, Madison, is a Texan and the nanny turned home wrecker, Anna is British. This book was published in 2006 and Kate has not written another ...more
Aug 07, 2014 Blair rated it did not like it
Another book with the potential to be far more enjoyable if only the characters weren't uniformly abhorrent. The Malins are both self-absorbed, shallow, pretentious and dishonest, so it's hard to care even when their daughter goes missing. Their nanny Anna is presumably supposed to be more likeable, but any respect you have for her is lost when she promptly (and entirely predictably) begins an affair with her employer. Muir's prose paints a charming picture of Paris society, but the story is all ...more
The book starts with a bang, sort of. The main characters' daughter disappears at a thinly veiled DisneyWorld copy in Paris. After that comes a long Part I, starting with the hire of a new nanny for the aforementioned daughter, and leading up to said disappearance. The characters are unsympathetic, to the point of annoying. I was very reluctant to keep reading.
Finally, Part II arrives. Some of the characters manage to redeem themselves slightly, others dig a bigger hole for themselves. I am disa
Feb 24, 2012 Maritza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was one of my favorite books that i have read. It consists of romance(; and cheating. The book was about a famous philosiphere and his wife who's an american actress, and their little girl Sabine. Both of the parents being so busy 24/7 they are in need of a nanny to take care of their prized pescion (Sabine). So the mother hires a nanny. She's very unprofesonal but the pelisoipher ends up falling in love with her. the book cover really captured my attention, and if there was a whole ot ...more
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