Left Bank

by Kate Muir

About this Book:
Madison Malin is Texan by birth and French by marriage, an actress who has always found herself playing the bimbo in distress in not-quite-pornographic movies. Her husband, Olivier, is an itinerant philosopher who chases young women and holds court in cafes, fancying himself to be a sort of Gen-X version of Sartre. The novel explores there relationship, and how it disintegrates when they hire a new English nanny for their daughter, Sabine.

Why I Chose this Book:
I was in a French sort of mood the day I picked this up, which was the same day I picked up a couple of other books that took place in Paris. I liked the title and the back cover blurb, and thought it would be interesting. I was expecting a light and predictable romance, and instead got a sometimes-amusing, sometimes gritty view of a marriage. Why is it, by the way, that no one ever writes stories about happy marriages?

What I Liked About this Book:
I was all set to love the nanny and hate Madison, but really the only character I wanted to shake to death was Olivier, which means Ms. Muir did her job, because he was supposed to come off as an arrogant ass. Anna, the nanny, by the way, was delightfully real, and I liked the subplot with the cook and the Chechnian immigrants.

Would I Recommend this Book?
Read it if you don’t mind a jaded air about your fiction, and don’t expect fluffy bunny happy endings. These characters are interesting and complex, but they’re not always nice or pretty. This is NOT chick-lit.