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Review: Foreign Tongue, Vanina Marsot

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.

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11 comments to Review: Foreign Tongue, Vanina Marsot

  • Oh nuts! The description had such potential, but I don’t fair well with erotica and so will probably pass. Thanks for the honest “head’s up”
    .-= Molly´s last blog ..Armchair BEA: 1st Post =-.

  • I don’t mind sex in books but a lot of times when that is the focus it is just too much. I doubt I would like this one.
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..BEA Wishlist =-.

  • Not sure if this one would be for me. I am not a big fan of erotica, and that may hamper my enjoyment of the book a lot. Also, I don’t really get on too well with whiny characters, so that’s another strike for the book. I think I might just skip this one, but I do thank you for your honesty, which helped me make my decision!!
    .-= zibilee´s last blog ..The Garden of Ruth by Eva Etzioni-Halevy – 293 pgs =-.

  • That sucks. The summary sounds awesome. I totally wish I had an aunt in Paris whose apartment I could crash in.

    This book reminds me of one I tried to read a few years ago about an English woman who gets dumped by her fiance and runs off to Paris on the spur of the moment to get away from him. That book was a major disappointment, too.
    .-= heidenkind´s last blog ..Lord of the Night by Susan Wiggs =-.

  • What a shame this turned out to be a stinker for you. Hopefully your next book will make this a distant memory.
    Thanks for the honest review :)
    .-= Jennygirl´s last blog ..LOST: The End =-.

  • I don’t usually read the backs of books either and would have been surprised by the erotica too. Sorry this one wasn’t for you.
    .-= Melissa – Shhh I’m Reading´s last blog ..Unfinished: Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez =-.

  • Hmmm… I’m not a fan of erotica either, but I like books that take place in France. But if she mostly spends her time inside instead of telling of her French life, I guess I wouldn’t enjoy it much, either… sorry you didn’t get much from it.
    .-= kay @ Infiniteshelf´s last blog ..Review : Pretty Little Liars =-.

  • I’ve been interested in this book for a while, but I didn’t realize it was an erotic novel either. Thanks for letting me know – I don’t think it’s for me.
    .-= bermudaonion (Kathy)´s last blog ..BEA/NY Day 1 =-.

  • ACK! I’m so sorry this novel didn’t work for you. I absolutely loved it. I learned a lot of new cuss words as a result and it made my day. That wasn’t all that I liked. I enjoyed Anna’s inner journey and the look inside French life. I hadn’t read a great deal of fiction set in France before and this novel set my interest in a new direction. I’m not sure what it says about me that the erotic novel portion didn’t register with me. If something sticks out to me, I try to point it out. Well, it’s time for lunch and I’ll ponder my deviant psyche later. LOL!

    I was just commenting on a post on FizzyThoughts about a book that I enjoyed that she did not like whatsoever. She couldn’t remember whose recommendation led her to read the book in the first place. If it was me, my batting record isn’t that great lately.
    .-= Literate Housewife´s last blog ..I’d Rather Be Reading, Wouldn’t I? =-.

  • Bernie Brown

    The book did keep me interested almost all the way through, in spite of the erotica; but, what WAS the ending all about? Will someone please explain the ending to me? And what did it have to do with her friend Bunny?

  • […] do you think I am?  Well, I also just realized this morning after reading Meghan’s review of Foreign Tongue that erotica in literature doesn’t phase me any more than cussing does.  Maybe it’s […]