French Lessons, By Ellen Sussman

Three Americans in Paris – or some city like it

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

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.