When her boyfriend not only dumps her but becomes famous, shoving his betrayal in her face at every turn, Anna realizes that she has to get away from her American life. So she takes a cue from her French side and goes to live in her aunt’s Paris apartment for free. She stumbles upon a job translating an erotic novel from French to English, and as she writes more and gets involved in a French romance, she starts to wonder if the characters in the book are real.
I’m sad to say I didn’t particularly like this book. For one thing, there was just too much emphasis on sex. I didn’t realize she was translating an erotic novel! I don’t read the backs of books and sometimes that does lead to nasty surprises like this one. The novel wasn’t particularly nice either – I will admit that after the first one, I skimmed all the rest of the excerpts of the erotic novel.
Still, I persevered in reading the rest of the book, hoping Anna would learn something from her French life to apply back to her American life. I was disappointed in that too. It seemed to me that she just constantly moped in her apartment, lamenting the unfortunate state of her life, except when she went to hang out with her trendy French friends who all had their own issues and subsequently complained about them. The mystery of the erotic novel didn’t pan out either as I wasn’t interested in the book enough to actually remember the characters’ names. Bad, I know – but by the end, I was genuinely skimming the entire book and skimmed huge sections just to get to the end.
Just about the only thing I did like about the book was the wordplay and the rumination on the nature of language. Because Anna is a translator, she ends up thinking a lot about how concepts work in different languages and how some phrases just don’t work outside of their native tongue. I have studied four languages, five if you count Middle English, and although I don’t know any of them particularly well, this is a concept I’ve run into quite a bit. I definitely wanted to learn French.
Don’t take my word for it, though, as you might feel differently; Jennifer at Literate Housewife loved this book and named it one of her top 10 of 2009. I wish I’d felt the same way as she did! Foreign Tongue was definitely not the book for me.
I am an Amazon Associate. To be honest, I’m not sure why I have this book or where it came from, but I know it was sent to me for free.