La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life

Elaine Sciolino. Times, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9115-1
Witty and keen-eyed, Sciolino (Persian Mirrors) is an American journalist living in Paris who feels by turns charmed and irritated by the French "civilizing arts." The French are famous for their exquisite food, wine, perfume, fashion, style, literature, and chateaux, among many other of life’s delights, as well as notorious for their laissez-faire attitude toward adultery. "The French still imbue everything they do with a deep affection for sensuality, subtlety, mystery, and play," writes Sciolino—an emphasis on what she terms the "process" of seduction, rather than hurrying toward the result, as Americans do. As part of her exploration of French culture, Sciolino conducted many interviews: supermodel Ines de la Fressange advised her to take a lover; advertising impresario Jacques Seguela laid out his ideas for using Joan of Arc to sell the electric car; former president Valery Giscard d’Estaing revealed that his political success was due to his seduction of "17 million French women"; while an elegant hostess schooled Sciolino in the art of throwing a sparkling dinner party comme il faut. The troubling underside to the French charm offensive is a patronizing attitude toward women and a crippling nostalgia—all of which Sciolino mines skillfully in this far from superficial investigative study. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 342 pages - 978-1-908238-70-2
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4299-3329-2
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-908238-71-9
Paperback - 338 pages - 978-1-250-00744-5
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