Review: A Paris Affair by Tatiana de Rosnay

A Paris Affair - Sam Taylor Mullens, Tatiana de Rosnay

Short story collection. Breakdown of the stories:

 

1. Hotel Room - yeah I saw that ending coming a mile away, but Karma came with a big bite.

 

2.The Texts - really stupid story about a wife who calls an advice line looking for help regarding her cheating husband. Ends up with the wife berating the advice giver with such misogynist bullshit (ie the cat lady stereotype).

 

3. The "Baby Monitor" - this situation has been over used to the point of comedy. Wife catches hubby cheating on her with her friend via the baby monitor. Wife threatens in a very calm way that she is going to take a meat cleaver and kill the friend.

 

4. The Red Notebook - insecure wife cheats her way through five years of marriage because her husband is dull and unaware of her cheating ways even though she has purposely left clues. She does this hoping to get a rise out of him and have wild angry sex with her husband. Her plan is ridiculous and fails spectacularly - turns out he has been cheating on her the whole time and has a notebook full of women's names, dates, and places where he cheated. Wife finds the notebook and is overcome with grief at her husband's cheating. He leaves her one final note. The hypocrisy is immeasurable in this story.

 

5. The Answering Machine - the wife is a moron who can't work an answering machine in 1992. She finds out her husband is having an affair via a message left on the machine. She also finds out she is pregnant and just knows it is a girl, so she is not leaving her husband, although his cheating makes her depressed. Another unoriginal plotline.

 

6. The Au Pair Girl - incredibly racist friends share lunch one day and one friend admits she has caught her husband cheating on her with the 18 year old nanny. She is talked out of having an affair with her husband's best friend when the other woman mentions her cheating incident involving condoms. The friend is too embarrassed to buy condoms, ask the potential lover to wear one, or put one on him during the seduction. I can't believe I am reading this story (published in English in 2015) in 2017.

 

7. The Strand of Hair - wife decided to leave her cheating husband but destroys all their possessions and leaves a note to demand a divorce.

 

8. The Woods - wife follows her husband as he gets a blow job from a prostitute. She leaves her wedding ring on the hood after the husband looks up and sees her staring at him and the prostitute. 

 

9. The Passwords - this was a much different story than I expected and one I really enjoyed. Attention male professors in Paris: Don't sexual harass or academically ruin an American student after she turned down your offer of sex or you will pay the consequences.

 

10. The USB Key - the twist is the cheating husband is in love with man. He can't take the lying anymore, so he records his confession to her on the USB and leaves it with instructions for the wife to watch. The wife decided she wanted to stay married to him even though the husband has admitted he is gay and wants out of the marriage, so she is holding the son as ransom for the husband to stay married to her. I felt like she is doing this to get back at the husband and for her own selfish reasons. I honestly felt for the husband  - he has known of his sexuality but his family pressured him into not believing in his homosexuality and forcing him into a life of a straight man. Now his wife is doing the same thing to him.

 

11. The Brunette from Rue Raynouard - the brunette in question is a doctor, a sex therapist. The husband has been seeing her as a patient to help him deal with his stupid wife's affair that he found out about. Wife is super paranoid that the husband is cheating on her. But it is not like that....in the end, the married couple kiss and make up. *eye roll*

 

 

Overall, wealthy (or at least well-to-do) pretty white people want to create some drama in their boring lives - this is the number one reason I don't read literary fiction. So many stories involve women who cheated or were cheated on right after they had kids (so many babies in these stories). A parallel theme to the cheating spouses were the fact that they sucked as parents as well, aside from keeping a lover on the side.French men were given such a ugly treatment from the author, they should feel very offended; words such as "rutting beasts" are used to describe French men in general for example. There were layers of classism, racism, and huge amounts of internal and external misogyny colored the stories to the point where the author made these characters into cartoons. And there was no originality to the plotlines (screwing the nanny is nothing new, just ask Ben Affleck or Jude Law). I only liked the one story (about the American student) and I really felt for the gay trapped in a marriage with a woman who doesn't want to give up her status or appearances as a married woman. 0 stars.