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L'Affaire | [Diane Johnson]

L'Affaire

When Amy Hawkins, a young dot-com executive from California who has made her fortune at the top of NASDAQ, overhears a pair of elderly and thus much wiser socialites decry the new generation for their incompetence in all things worldly, she sets off for Europe to find culture, her roots, and maybe a cause to devote her considerable fortune to.
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Publisher's Summary

When Amy Hawkins, a young dot-com executive from California who has made her fortune at the top of NASDAQ, overhears a pair of elderly and thus much wiser socialites decry the new generation for their incompetence in all things worldly, she sets off for Europe to find culture, her roots, and maybe a cause to devote her considerable fortune to. Amy starts her quest at one of the finest small hotels in the French Alps (a hotel noted for skiing and its famous cooking lessons) in the town of Valmeri.

A few days into her trip, Amy is nearly swept away by an avalanche (started, some say, by low-American warplanes). Two of the hotel's guests, esteemed English publisher Adrian Venn and his much younger American wife, Kerry, were not as fortunate as Amy. Both lie comatose in a nearby hospital. Learning that French and English law dictate a very different division of money depending on where Adrian dies, Adrian's children (young, old, legitimate, and illegitimate) assemble in Valmeri to protect their interests should he not pull through.

Amy, already suspect as an American, finds that her nationality freezes the social climate as she steps in to assist the family. In her innocence, Amy sets in motion a series of events in France and England that spotlight ancient national differences, customs, and laws. Add one or two small affairs that may topple carefully balanced alliances, and soon it is as the French say, a situation.

Hailed as witty, delicious, nuanced and fresh by book critics across the country, Diane Johnson has composed her most amusing and insightful character to date in young Amy Hawkins. A contemporary masterpiece sure to entertain, L'Affaire is a perfectly drawn comedy of manners abroad.

© 2003 Diane Johnson; (P) 2003 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"If one were to cross Jane Austen and Henry James, the result would be Diane Johnson." (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Diane Johnson treads, very consciously and cleverly, across the ancient and hallowed turf of the international novel." (New York Times Book Review)
"Has spice and smarts to spare." (Book Magazine)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (38 )
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3.6 (5 )
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3.8 (4 )
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  •  
    Julia Seattle, WA, USA 10-24-03
    Julia Seattle, WA, USA 10-24-03 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    "A wonderful comedy of manners"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to anyone who has spent some time in France or England. The book is a modern meeting of Balzac and Jane Austen, very funny, very intelligent, and the author while bitingly satirical, is affectionate about her characters. An excellent book, superbly read.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ciara Sunnyside, NY, USA 03-12-07
    Ciara Sunnyside, NY, USA 03-12-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
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    "Ending predictable"

    Overall this is an interesting book and paints a good picture of the main characters and their interaction with each other. However I did find that the ending fell flat.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mkrhoades 10-01-05
    mkrhoades 10-01-05 Listener Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    "ditto"

    one reviewer wrote this:

    "What a relief to hear a book with several French characters read by someone whose French doesn't make me wince, cringe or wonder what I just heard."

    To this I say: DITTO. It's a fun listen and the French is good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doggy Bird Glen Ridge, NJ USA 03-18-04
    Doggy Bird Glen Ridge, NJ USA 03-18-04 Member Since 2001

    doggybird

    HELPFUL VOTES
    467
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    "Delightful book, terrific reader!"

    What a relief to hear a book with several French characters read by someone whose French doesn't make me wince, cringe or wonder what I just heard.

    Particularly for a Diane Johnson book where dialogue and characterization are everything, having someone with an ability to transmit the appropriate tone takes the reading to a higher level. I truly enjoyed the book as much for the expert reading as for the delightful wit of the author and her astounding insight into the cultural differences among Europeans and Americans of various class.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jana Richmond, CA, United States 10-13-03
    Jana Richmond, CA, United States 10-13-03 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Comedy of manners (not my cup of tea)"

    The New York Times wrote a very positive review of this book but I found it very boring and gave up listening. I enjoyed reading Johnson's previous books but couldn't get interested in this one. I didn't find the narrator's voice engaging...I felt like I was stuck listening to a proper English auntie telling a long, boring story about a bunch of people she met on holiday at a resort.

    3 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Hanover, PA, USA 11-20-07
    Julie Hanover, PA, USA 11-20-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gave Up"

    I'm with the previous reviewer..I had to give it up..It was boring and not worth the time...

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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