French Lessons, By Ellen Sussman

Three Americans in Paris – or some city like it

Ellen Sussman lived in Paris for five years but the superficiality of her observations in this novel might just as easily have emerged from a quick overnight stay.

Three French tutors, Nico, Philippe and Chantal are involved in a loose ménage-a-trois, but it's their interactions with three US visitors to the city that really interest Sussman. We learn about Josie, the tragic lover of a married man, and Riley, the harassed wife of a top businessman, but their tutors remain little more than ciphers. This is slightly superior chick-lit, involving loss, death and disappointment, and Sussman has a natural, easy voice. But it could have been set anywhere.

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