ISN'T IT ROMANTIC?: An Entertainment

Ron Hansen, Author . HarperCollins $17.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-06-051766-3

Ersatz French culture and aw-shucks Americana collide in this corny romantic comedy, a flat-footed departure from form by National Book Award finalist Hansen (Mariette in Ecstasy, etc.). Natalie Clairvaux, a Paris librarian specializing in Americana at the Bibliothèque Nationale, embarks on a grassroots See America bus tour of out-of-the-way U.S. landmarks in an effort to escape the unwanted attentions of her philandering fiancé, Pierre Smith, scion of a family of French wine sellers. Maddened by her unexplained disappearance, Pierre tracks her down and catches up with her tour group in Omaha. The quarreling couple abandons the tour at a tiny crossroads outside of Seldom, Neb. (pop. 395), on Wednesday, agreeing that Natalie will reach a decision about their wedding by noon Saturday. In Seldom, the couple is immediately elected king and queen of an annual local festival honoring a Frenchman who founded the town, and all manner of rather predictable fun and games begins. Pierre is quartered with Owen Nelson, whose penchant for wine making is second only to his obsession with Cornhusker football. Disillusioned Natalie is soon captivated by handsome Dick Tupper, a 50-year-old rancher. And, true to form, womanizing Pierre starts hitting on Iona Christiansen, a comely waitress at the local cafe. A wine tasting for hayseeds, a bachelor party (and bridal shower) and a brace of bungled trysts are a few of the stale devices driving this perfunctory farce. The subtitle suggests that Hansen knows this is a lesser effort, and readers will concur with the analysis. (Jan. 13)

Reviewed on: 12/02/2002
Release date: 01/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-06-051767-0
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4176-3995-3
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-31343-8
Prebound-Sewn - 208 pages - 978-0-7569-5705-6
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