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What ever happened to the astringent sensuousness of Marguerite Duras or Annie Ernaux, excellent (and, one always thought, representative) French writers for whom sex is not just sex but a window on both psyche and society? In this mushy book, chic, young Amélie encounters David at a gas station late at night; she's on the way to visit her children at her parents' home, he's directing a movie there. An affair naturally follows, rendered in near-clinical detail, then gets blown out of the water by a stupid misunderstanding, with Amélie left worrying, as at the beginning, about how she looks. If your readers like hot romance in reasonably exotic settings, they might go for this debut; otherwise, you can skip it.‘Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"

This quickie first novel of erotica is the kind of sexual romp that goes over well in France, where the author has been called "la nouvelle libertine," but it may not quite light fires here. Thirty-year-old Amélie, with an apartment in Paris, two beautiful daughters and a workaholic husband, is the proverbial bored French housewife (updated version: she's an editor who doesn't like to cook or clean). Amélie has always enjoyed role-playing, trying on new hats in front of a mirror or inventing lies for her husband about how she spent her day. One night in a gas station, she meets David, a 50-ish Moroccan filmmaker. David's foreignness is alluring, but on a weekend trip to Morocco he becomes too much the Mediterranean male, assuming complete control over Amélie, who treasures her freedom (and herself) above all else. As the sensitive and compulsively organized David falls hopelessly in love, Amélie loses interest, leaving him asleep in bed while she enjoys the forbidden pleasures of TV and potato chips (the ultimate French sins!). Lots of explicit sex and atmospherics‘from the markets of Marrakech to salad lunches with girlfriends at Café Flore‘enliven this sexy if unimaginative series of bedroom escapades. (Nov.)

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