By Diane Johnson
(Plume, Paperback, 9780452285637, 352pp.)
Publication Date: August 31, 2004
In Diane Johnson’s L’Affaire, Amy Hawkins, a smart, pretty Palo Alto girl who made herself a dot-com fortune, goes to France to get a sheen of sophistication and, perhaps, to have an affair that will ruffle her all-too-steady heart. Amy starts her quest in the French Alps in the town of Valméri, amid an assortment of aristocrats and ski enthusiasts.
When two of the hotel’s guests, esteemed English publisher Adrian Venn and his much younger American wife, Kerry, are swept away by an avalanche, Adrian’s children—young, old, legitimate, illegitimate—assemble in Valméri to protect their interests.
Amy, already suspect because she is American, steps in to assist, and unintentionally sets in motion a series of events that spotlight ancient national differences, customs, and laws. Filled with love, sex, death, and travel, L’Affaire is Diane Johnson at her very best in a comedy of contemporary manners played out between the sexes as they stumble over cultural barriers and slam into cultural stereotypes.
Diane Johnson is the author of the bestselling novel Le Divorce, a 1997 National Book Award finalist, as well as twelve other books, including the novels Persian Nights, Health and Happiness, Lying Low, The Shadow Knows, and Burning (all available in Plume editions). She divides her time between San Francisco and Paris.
"Immensely amusing… devilishly on target." —The New York Times Book Review
"[Johnson] whips up an international confection in which each flavor remains distinct, the comedy high, the suspense sharp." —Los Angeles Times
"Full of tip-top invention [and] lightness of touch that has nearly disappeared from literary fiction, comic or otherwise…a pleasure." —The Atlantic Monthly