Anna and the French Kiss is full of wonderful, adorable moments, coupled with wonderful, adorable quotes. I mean, am I the only one who wants to go to SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY bookstore?
Inside, we’re struck by chaos. A horde of customers crowds the desk, and everywhere I turn there are books, books, and more books. But it’s not like a chain, where everything is neatly organized on shelves and tables andend caps. Here books totter in wobbly stacks, fall from the seats of chairs, and spill from sagging shelves. There are cardboard boxes overflowing with books, and a black cat naps beside a pile on the stairs.
I wander in a daze, half thrilled to be surrounded by my own language, half terrified to disturb anything. One wrong touch might break the entire store. It could collapse, and we’d be buried in an avalanche of yellowed pages.
I also love the commentary on translated works:
Her characters are also suffering, but they’re putting their lives back together. Learning to love again. Her stories are harder, but they’re also more rewarding.The characters suffer in the beginning and the middle, but not the end. There’s positive resolution.
The translator, no matter how true he thinks he’s staying to the text, still brings his own life experiences and opinions to the decisions he makes.
Foreign novels are less action-oriented.They have a different pace; they’re more reflective. They challenge us to look for the story, find the story within the story.
I love the way Perkins describes Anna’s thoughts.
How many times can our emotions be tied to someone else’s—be pulled and stretched and twisted—before they snap?
Is it possible for home to be a person and not a place?
I’m especially fond of her culture shock when she returns to USA:
I’m ashamed to see my country the way the French must see us. Couldn’t these people have at least brushed their hair before leaving their houses?
But what takes the cake are Anna and St. Clair’s interactions. They are just adorable, and sweet, and genuine. They show sincerity:
I can’t ask him. Because if he likes me, he’s not in any state to begin a relationship. Or deal with the breakup of an old one. And if he doesn’t like me, then I’d probably lose his friendship. Things would be too weird.
And right now St. Clair needs friendship.
“Ow,” he says.
“My belt. Would it be weird …”
I’m thankful he can’t see me blush. “Of course not.” And I listen to the slap of leather as he pulls it out of his belt loops. He lays it gently on my hardwood floor.
“Um,” he says. “Would it be weird—”
“Oh, piss off. I’m not talking trousers. I only want under the blankets. That breeze is horrible.”
“Pardon me, but I wonder if you wouldn’t mind switching seats.You see, that’s my girlfriend there, and she’s pregnant. And since she gets a bit ill on airplanes, I thought she might need someone to hold back her hair when . . . well . . .”
St. Clair holds up the courtesy barf bag and shakes it around.The paper crinkles dramatically. The man sprints off the seat as my face flames. His pregnant girlfriend?
“Any bloke with a working prick would be insane not to like you.” There’s a shocked pause, on both ends of the line. “Because, of course, of how intelligent you are. And funny. Not that you aren’t attractive. Because you are. Attractive. Oh, bugger …” I wait. “Are you still there, or did you hang up because I’m such a bleeding idiot?”
And at the height of St. Clair’s charm:
“Will you please tell me you love me? I’m dying here.”