Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles” as Want to Read:
The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles

(Joséphine #1)

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  10,599 ratings  ·  989 reviews
Le Divorce meets The Elegance of the Hedgehog in this hilariously entertaining mega-bestseller from France

When her chronically unemployed husband runs off to start a crocodile farm in Kenya with his mistress, Joséphine Cortès is left in an unhappy state of affairs. The mother of two—confident, beautiful teenage Hortense and shy, babyish Zoé—is forced to maintain a stable
Paperback, 464 pages
Published December 31st 2013 by Penguin Books (first published March 1st 2006)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,599 ratings  ·  989 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles
Jun 20, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A beach read for dummies. Moderately more entertaining than reading the contents list on the back of a shampoo bottle.
Nov 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up with doubts. My friends in France all...smiled with the look of "ugh", popular, but such a bad book.....sadly, for them, I liked it a lot. I got pulled into the story....and found myself reading 100 pages per day. Addictive like dark chocolate covered almonds.

The story? A woman...who is not so self-confident separates from her husband. She puts up with awful family members (including her daughter)...and finds her life and her footing. All while writing a book about a XXII
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles is the first novel in the Joséphine series by French author, Katherine Pancol. When she discovers her unemployed husband Antoine (call me Tonio) is having an affair with his manicurist, Joséphine Cortès kicks him out of their Paris apartment and resolves to somehow manage, with two daughters, on her own. Her meagre salary at the CNRS as a 12th Century historian will need to be supplemented; luckily, her brother-in-law, Philippe Dupin offers her some translation ...more
I was listening to "Fresh Air" on NPR recently, as I often do in the morning, when one of their regular book reviewers started talking about this book. She went on about how it had been a best seller in France and had been translated into several different languages and had finally made it into English, translated by William Rodarmor and Helen Dickinson. She raved so about the book that I decided to put it on my TBR list, even though I knew nothing about the author.

Indeed, I had never heard of
Rob Slaven
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
As usual, I received this book through the kindness of some giveaway or other. In this case it appears to have been an actual GoodReads giveaway. That certainly doesn't happen much any more!

So to begin, I realize that this book is probably in a genre more generally considered appropriate to the female gender and because of that, as a dude I'm a bit of an interloper. Despite that slight misalignment, I found this book pretty delightful. It's complexity of character made me realize just how bad I
Jun 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
I bought this book because it was an international best seller and so I figured that it had to be a good read. The back blurb made it sound like a comedic adventure but I have to confess that I didn’t like it. The story didn’t live up to the book description’s promises. I found the main character, Josephine, to be whiney and too much of a martyr. Her husband runs off with his sexy mistress, leaving Josephine to look after their two daughters. On top of this he takes out a loan for 200,000 Euros, ...more
Liza Wiemer
The Ultimate Character Driven Novel!

The were some of the most unforgettable fictional characters I've ever read. This novel was a totally new reading experience - because the characters were so FRENCH. Meaning that they have their own way about them - from fashion, to food, to beliefs on marriage and mistresses. I found myself laughing out loud, gasping with surprise, wanting to smack a few of these characters, feeling deeply sympathetic to Josephine and also deeply respecting her even when she
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: recent-reads
The story revolves around two sisters: Josephine who is a scholar and wallflower and lives in the shadow of her extravagant sister Iris. The two sisters have different lives, but they are close. The story unfolds around the shifts in both their lives and is full of characters that add to the shenanigans.

This is the first in a series and one that I think will be fun to revisit. I liked the levity of the story which balances out some serious moments. The story moves along at a good pace and while
switterbug (Betsey)
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
In the burbs of Courbevoi, outside of Paris, Joséphine Cortès and her husband, Antoine, have fallen out of step with each other. He is unemployed; she is trying to make ends meet on her pittance as a 12tch century medieval scholar. Their radiantly beautiful and arrogant daughter, Hortense, is on the verge of womanhood, and has little respect for her overweight, overwrought mother, who carries herself with slack ill-confidence. The younger one, Zoé, is bashful and sensitive. When Antoine runs off ...more
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was a complete impulse purchase; I didn't know the author and the marketing copy on the back cover sounded suspiciously like chick lit (not a genre I generally read). That said, I thoroughly enjoyed it! The characters seemed to come alive. The story lines interwove and kept my interest. And set in Paris with side trips to London and the Caribbean, provided the perfect amount is escapism. While not great literature, it was a good read!
May 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Wow. That ended abruptly. At times I loved the book, at others, I simply tolerated it. The book spends a vast amount of time laying the scenery and constructing the groundwork for the story. Everyone's read the synopsis, so I won't reiterate that. I hate it when reviewers regurgitate the information provided on the book jacket. What I will say instead, is that there are about a hundred characters in this book. Not really, but at times it feels that way. Their plots all move at different paces ...more
Jaclyn Day
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I heard the most charming review of this book (and another that I’m reading right now: Alena by Rachel Pastan) on NPR. I bought it as soon as I got my hands on my Kindle.

I wasn’t as charmed by the book as I was by the review, but it turned out to be the kind of light, palette-cleansing book that was exactly what I needed this week.

The book was written in French and translated to English by two people and that (in hindsight) makes a lot of sense. The book can feel abruptly disjointed. Almost
Melissa C
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a fun and kooky story about a family of eccentrics. Set mostly in Paris, it tells of a chronically unemployed husband who runs off to Kenya with his mistress to start a crocodile farm. His wife, the mother of two, is left to make ends meet on her tiny salary as a medieval history scholar. The shunned wife has a charismatic sister, Iris, who was more loved as a child, married a wealthy man, is beautiful and with all that, remains an unhappy and empty woman. Seeking to spice up her life, ...more
Dec 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel grabbed me from the first page and I could hardly bear to put it down. The story is delightfully engaging and clever, with multiple story lines that keep the reader wanting more. The characters are diverse and well-developed, and the reader can resonate with their entanglements and emotions. Although the author is French and the novel is set in Paris, it addresses universal themes that make it enjoyable for anyone. It was originally published in 2006 and has sold 2.4 million copies in ...more
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
"The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles" is a book about the choices people make when they suddenly find themselves in the midst of a life that is not what they expected. The thing I like best about this novel is the fact that the subplots are as stong as the main storyline.

Josephine, the protagonist, is trying to keep her head above water after ejecting her adulterous husband. The plan Iris concocts to recapture a moment of fame in her youth changes both their lives. But it is not only Josephine and
Jim Fonseca
Nov 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: french-authors

Sisters: one is introverted and frumpy; the other is extroverted, sexy and has all the guys wrapped around her finger. So in this French novel, the sexy sister, who married into money through her good looks and appears to have it all, gets her frumpy sister, a medieval research historian, to ghost-write a historical novel for her. The medieval historian is in dire straits with two daughters and an ex-husband who just ran off to Africa with his girlfriend to raise crocodiles for the Chinese
Cath Taylor
Mar 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
Picked this one up in a hurry, lulled into a false sense of security by the words 'International best Seller- 2.5 million copies sold!' and the fact that it'd been translated from French, with something about a crocodile farm in Africa thrown in. 2.5 mill readers couldn't be wrong could they? In short, yes. Quite the silliest, least believable, most badly written thing I've read in probably forever. (Because I usually put things like this down after the first 50 pages) I kept thinking this just ...more
The premise sounded fun, like an offbeat chick lit breath of fresh air in the midst of its more earnest contemporaries. Unfortunately I found plot and characters more ludicrous than comic, and the novel's ending unsatisfying. After all of the gyrations of a mostly unlikable, and almost caricatured cast of individuals, even the budding romances meant to give the reader satisfaction for its downtrodden lovelorn seemed flat - and suspended, as though waiting for the next book in the series.
Coming in at 661 pages of original French text, this book was a commitment. Fortunately, the language wasn't too difficult and the story was fun. There are lots of characters and subplots and plenty of drama to keep the pages turning through to the end.

2017 Reading Challenge Category: A book recommended by a librarian. (I found the librarian's recommendation here:
Mar 06, 2018 marked it as abandoned
I misplaced the book at some point and haven't cared to look for it to finish it. I think that's indicative of my interest.
Karen Michelle
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
It was like Seinfeld; It had very flawed, selfish people at its centre.
It was unlike Seinfeld; I didn't like any of the characters and didn't enjoy it.
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished this novel and I am fascinated. It was so profound, hilarious, and unexpected. I enjoyed her writing style. I hope the English translation do justice to the distinction of the narrative which captured beautifully the ordinary yet interesting life of each of these characters.

This is the story of Josephine and her family during a span of a year where her marriage comes to an end and her life changes forever. We encounter all her family members, each and everyone of them in a
Andrew Canfield
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles is a novel that it is difficult to take your eyes off of while reading it. This is not in a sense that is completely bad or good; this fast-paced book by French author Katherine Pancol has plenty of ups and downs contained in its 400 plus pages.

The book focuses on the silly day to day travails of Josephine Cortes, a researcher at the Centre National de la Reserche Scientifique in Paris. The outlandish people who populate her daily life make for numerous plots and
Lora Grigorova
Les yeux jaunes des crocodiles:

The Yellow Eyes of the Crocodiles is special for me. For the first time since I have a notebook with sentences from books I have read, I wanted to rewrite almost every single sentence. The simple story of love, despair, separation, deceit, hope, and forgiveness in the contemporary French society is full of ideas about life, originally expressed, which I need to stick in my head. Of course, I limited myself to only several
Charmaine Whittington
Quirky read. I relate well to Jo because I was like her as a teenager, letting my family walk all over me and never uttering one word. Like Jo, I did change for the best. Loved the story. Wish there were more English translations of the author's other books. Maybe I should brush up on my French and read her books in the original language...
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
Although I was enticed to enter the First Reads giveaway for Katherine Pancol’s The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles by the blurbist’s promise of a similarity to Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog, I closed the back cover after 435 pages of Pancol’s novel wondering if the supposed correspondence could be limited to the nationality of these authors. Both are French—and most of The Yellow Eyes takes place in France with occasional visits to a crocodile farm in Kenya. The most original ...more
Jul 11, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
This is a delightfully frothy french novel centered on two sisters: Iris and Josephine. Iris has gone through life as the beautiful and glamourous one and is married to a high profile lawyer with whom she has one son. Josephine is the introverted intellectual, a historian specialising in the 12th century. When the book opens she is kicking out her husband Antoine who has been having an affair with another woman and is trying to ascertain how she will take care of her two daughters. When Iris ...more
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: relationships
When Josephine Cortes discovers that her unemployed husband, Antoine, has a mistress she turns him out of the house, leaving herself a single mother with two daughters to bring up. Antoine and his mistress soon depart for a crocodile farm in Africa, leaving Josephine to pay off his loan as well as support the girls on her own. Her older daughter, Hortense is a difficult teenager who is learning to use her looks to attract men and blames her mother for her failed marriage. Shy and unconfident ...more
Feb 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
I recently heard a book review on NPR by Maureen Corrigan praising this book as "smart entertainment". I was looking for something light but not dumb to read and I thought this would be along the lines of Jojo Moyes' Me Before You. It was not! The only reason why I even finished it was because of the review. I couldn't believe such an awful book would get a good review and kept thinking: well, it must get better. It must get better.
Unfortunately for me it didn't. The characters were all
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Quando la realtà si scontra con la fantasia 1 11 Jul 06, 2013 03:01AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • La consolante
  • Hunting and Gathering
  • Ma vie avec Mozart
  • I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere
  • Demain j'arrête!
  • La Vérité sur l'affaire Harry Quebert
  • Ta deuxième vie commence quand tu comprends que tu n'en as qu'une
  • La Petite Mort (La Petite Mort #1)
  • Stupeur et tremblements
  • Delicacy
  • Mes amis, mes amours
  • Le jour où les lions mangeront de la salade verte
  • N'oublier jamais
  • El mundo azul: Ama tu caos
  • Hygiène de l'assassin
  • J'ai dû rêver trop fort
  • La prochaine fois
  • Come le mosche d'autunno
See similar books…
Katherine Pancol moved from Casablanca to France when she was five. She studied literature and initially became a French and Latin teacher, before turning to journalism. While working for Paris-Match and Cosmopolitan, she is noticed by an intuitive publisher who encourages her to begin writing. Following the success of her first novel Moi D'abord (Me First) in 1979, Pancol moves to New York City ...more

Other books in the series

Joséphine (3 books)
  • La valse lente des tortues
  • Les écureuils de Central Park sont tristes le lundi
“La felicidad, pensó, está hecha de pequeñas cosas. Siempre se la espera con mayúsculas, pero llega a nosotros de puntillas y puede pasar bajo nuestras narices sin darnos cuenta” 11 likes
“C'est comme une furie en moi, une perversion qui me pousse à désirer ce que je méprise le plus au monde.” 5 likes
More quotes…