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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  149 ratings  ·  31 reviews
"It's as though you had to know the password for our relationship . . ."
What is love? Why do some people make our hearts flutter, while others leave us cold? A seductive blend of Maggie Nelson and Marguerite Duras, Trysting seizes romance's slippery truths by letting us glimpse nearly 300 beguiling relationships: scenes between all genders and sexualities, including first
ebook, 220 pages
Published October 17th 2016 by Two Lines Press (first published October 3rd 2013)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
Trysting by Emmanuelle Pagano, translated by Jennifer Higgins and Sophie Lewis, was a quick read for Women in Translation month. Fragmented vignettes of love and loss, all the tiny things we notice or accept of our partners and lovers, from body hair to aging. I expected a bit more from a book titled "trysting" but nothing really sordid or questionable here. (Dang!)
What a genuinely lovely thing this little book is! Free of an overarching plot or continuing characters, each section is essentially a story in miniature, an introduction to fresh perspectives, snapshots of individual lives. Pagano casts her net wide and we watch as people of all sexes, orientations, and ages meet, meld, and part. There is great sweetness here but also bitter anger and the deep pain of loss. Pagano has a remarkable eye for the particular and an ear for what makes an individual h ...more
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translation, 2019
Anything I didn’t give him, I didn’t keep. Anything I didn’t give him is lost.

Boldy experimental, yet elegant and authentic, Pagano’s exceptional attention to detail delivers intimate vignettes of love, loss and everything in between. The nature of the style is certainly fragmented, and for me, I didn’t entirely feel that the snippets cohered overall; whilst each reflects, refracts and distorts earlier instalments, the overall effect is piecemeal and somewhat repetitive. In many cases, I found
What is Love? It is a question which poets and philosophers have long enjoyed grappling with, but whose answer remains as elusive as ever. Even if we were to consider just one type of Love - that between lovers, between partners - its manifestations are incredibly varied. Every couple has its own love story.

Emmanuelle Pagano's "Trysting" was originally published in French as "Nouons-nous". It is now available in an English translation by Jennifer Higgins and Sophie Lewis, issued by independent p
I really enjoyed this. The book consists of items from packed little one-sentence statements to two-page vignettes that convey a spacious range of observations and experiences of love. The snippets are from the viewpoints of all kinds and ages of people in dozens and dozens of relationships, at all stages of the process: first sight, first meeting, deepening relationship, long-time comradeship, disastrous break-ups, death of a spouse. I really recommend it. I’m not usually one for books about lo ...more
Aug 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, translation
she inspects herself in the mirror from every angle, seeking imperfections. she doesn't find any, and leaves the bathroom feeling pleased and beautiful, but the mirror can't reflect something that lies just beneath the skin, something that is there, inside her, that prevents us from loving each other, that she will never see.
emmanuelle pagano's trysting (nouons-nous) is composed of a few hundred brief vignettes – some but a single sentence, others as lengthy as a page or two. capturing the m
This is a book of brief but piercing glances into relationships between people. Husbands and wives, lovers, strangers; attracted, besotted, betrayed, bewildered.

Some of them seem like excellent openings to entire novels, and I like to imagine what would come next:

"He chose me, so I must be rare. Perhaps even precious. He says: No, it was you who chose me."

"We have never wept at the same time."

"If all the men I've loved were able to cross-check the facts, if they knew each other, say, and if the
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uvijek iznova podsjećam samu sebe da svatko ima svoju priču, kako god klišejizirano zvučalo. Priču dugačku, bogatu detaljima ili samo priču-detalj. Jednu rečenicu koja ga određuje - u tom trenutku ili (za)uvijek. Ljubavnu, prijateljsku, usputnu, ali ipak priču.
Emmanuelle Pagano neke od njih ovdje je zapisala. Priče od stranice ili dvije ili priče od rečenice ili dvije. Ili jednog odjeljka. Sjajno, zanimljivo, pomno odabrano.
Zanima me koje bih ja odabrala kad bih pokušala zapisati tuđe (ili svoj
Kat at Book Thingo
Feb 01, 2017 marked it as avoid-like-the-plague
Doesn't understand the romance genre. Not for me.
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recueil de plusieurs histoires d'amour indépendantes les unes des autres, Nouons-nous est un récit incontestablement humain et profondément touchant. Emmanuelle Pagano nous livre ici, par tranches de quelques paragraphes ou quelques lignes à peine, les épanchements romantiques et mélancoliques d'une foultitude de protagonistes différents. Si ce récit a permis à l'amoureux des mots que je suis d'être ravi grâce aux descriptions qu'il contient, je me suis, malgré moi, senti assez loin de toutes le ...more
Lorri Steinbacher
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Non-traditional fiction translated from the French. Each vignette--some a mere sentence long, none over a page or two--deals with love and the ways we experience and express it. You are sure to recognize yourself somewhere in its pages. The reviewers compare the tone to Marguerite Duras and this comparison is apt.

Recommended for fans of Duras or Leanne Shapton, French fiction, and non-traditional storytelling.
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting assortment of vignettes/flash fiction on love, relationships, and sex, all told in the first person. They weren't bad but I did have difficulties finishing the book because at some point I just lost interest in moving forward (I think because there just isn't enough connective tissue or context holding the pieces together). But this feels more like a case of "it's not you, it's me" b/c it's definitely intentional, and if you like that sort of thing, you should enjoy this.
Jeremy Gavins
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just my kind of book. I have a huge memory problem which means that if I read a couple of chapters of a book and leave it for more than a day I forget what I have read. Therefore nowadays I can either read a book from cover to cover in one go or read short story type of books.

Written in short pieces which I can read then leave and come back to. Love and leave stories. Well written.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Short prose pieces that serve as tiny dispatches from relationships that are fractured and fragmenting. Sometimes at the beginning of an affair, sometime at the end of a log romance. There are no characters per se, just nameless men and women falling in and out of love with other nameless men and women. Ultimately I found myself wanting more context for the doomed relationships.
Claire Steele
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this, in much the same way as I love oysters. It's not like a regular meal, but it feels real and authentic and in small quantities the best food on earth.
Amanda  Sloan
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this!
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful writing !
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lijepo, jako i emotivno.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2016
One of my favourites of 2016, in the category 'Best Hard-To-Describe Book Written as Tiny Vignettes About Love': ...more
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Polyphonic love in a flash.

Vignettes, ranging in length from a few words to a few pages, on love in all its forms. Here we have meetings, couplings, leavings, many of which are sensuously described.

Emmanuelle Pagano's kaleidoscopic view of love is enthralling. Each vignette is convincingly distinct. Recommended dose: sip, don't gulp.

Translated by Jennifer Higgins and Sophie Lewis.
Absolutely adored this. A series of beautiful vignettes about love in all its forms. I hope more of Pagano’s work is translated in the future.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully piece of prose, unselfconsciously poetic, little assembled fragments from the lives of couples, from love affairs, marriages, relationships and love and intimacies in all their forms. It's not hard to read, but best savoured in sips.
K's Bognoter
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-bookshelf
Rørende, sjove, sørgelige, glade, triste, romantiske, tragiske, håbefulde, hadefulde, skuffede, bitre, foruroligende, trofaste, svigefulde … Emmanuelle Pagano kommer hele vejen rundt i det menneskelige følelsesregister i denne samling af små stykker kortprosa, hvor hver tekststump udgør et blik ind i et helt og fuldt menneskeligt univers. Og hun gør det for det meste vedkommende og troværdigt. Anbefalet!

Læs hele anmeldelsen her:
Debbie Kinsey
This wasn’t for me. In part, my expectations were off because I thought it was the story of one couple told in a series of fragments, but actually every fragment refers to a different couple. I think it’s a book to read in lots of sittings, just dipping in and out, which isn’t something I did – I read the first half in one go, became tired of it, then didn’t pick it up much again and just skim read the rest. I like the variety in the fragments and I think you will find a feeling or situation tha ...more
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adore this little book! A series of short writings, from single lines to a couple of pages, on the subject of attraction, love, hurt, separation and loss. They perfectly capture the small often overlooked quirks of relationships that distinguish and cement them. While the characters in the passages differ, as you read through, later parts reflect and refract early ones. I gulped down the whole book in a single day, but it is equally good for dipping in and out of. Jennifer Higgens and Sophie L ...more
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's an elegance to these vignettes, and a definite authenticity. I perhaps spoiled it slightly for myself by reading in one sitting, as opposed to dipping in and out over a few days. But nevertheless a very enjoyable read, and one that makes a decent effort to describe the indescribable. It's not hard to find something in these pages that will remind you of yourself.
Sara Bauer
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Beautiful. Just beautiful. Little, vivid pictures of lives shared ... and sometimes separated. Had me crying and laughing, all at once. Love is a study in two people, so the duality of emotion always lingers: happy can turn to sad so easily and vice versa. Absolutely gorgeous.
Feb 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un très beau livre, une écriture agréable: des moments de vie, des émotions, des sensations exprimées sur 1 ou 2 pages qui dressent le "portrait" de l'amour. Tres réussi!
rated it really liked it
Jan 31, 2019
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Emmanuelle Pagano was born in Aveyron in September 1969. She lives today in Ardèche, with three children, born in April 1991, September 1995 and May 2003. She graduated in Fine Arts, and has done university researches in the field of esthetics in the cinema as well as the multimedia.

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