Left Bank - Kate Muir

Headline Review

Mark Haddon

"A seamless comedy of manners."




Neither side of the cover of Left Bank gave any hint as to the story line of the novel. However, as per usual, I was intrigued by the cover and so risked accepting the invitation to 'lose myself in the world of Olivier and Madison Malin glamorous French philosopher & gorgeous American actress'.

As one might expect, the story focuses on the turbulent lives of Olivier and Madison who, on the surface, are Paris's picture-perfect couple.  However, we are quick to discover things are not as perfect as they seem.  After eight years of marriage, Madison is growing tired of the many affairs she suspects Olivier guilty of.  Although never having (nor wanting) proof of his extra-marital liaisons, she continues life playing glamorous twenty-something's in French films and fooling herself into believing she is happy.

However, the arrival of new nanny Anna for their emotionally neglected daughter Sabine catches Olivier's attention. Slowly his pursuing of Anna begins to intrude on his life at home and as their liaisons become less and less innocent, their guilt begins to slowly destroy the very fragile 'happy front' of the Malin household.

Kate Muir writes the tale from the perspective of all three main characters: Madison, Olivier and Anna. As the plot unfolds we learn more about each of them, the reasons for their actions and the inner workings of the complicated relationships.

It may upon first glance seem a bit 'chick-lit' and, yes, the book is about affairs, love, scandal and the like.  However, Muir handles the relationship of the characters in a thoughtful way with one of main conclusions of the book being that of self-preservation.  Provided you can handle the occasional emotional page, this book had me gripped from the beginning!



Reviewed on 15/11/2006 by Angela


Reviewed item details

ISBN: 0755325028

RRP: ?6.99

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