9 of 10
Paris, He Said
336 pages; Bloomsbury USA
Eight years out of college, would-be artist Jayne Marks finds herself in New York, struggling at day jobs that leave neither the time nor the inspiration to pursue her own painting. Suddenly her latest beau, Laurent Moller, a wealthy French gallery owner, offers to whisk her away to Paris to live rent-free and pursue her art. Though old enough to be her father, Laurent is handsome (Jayne notes his resemblance to George Clooney) and an attentive lover. In true French fashion, though, he also favors a "don't ask, don't tell" policy on extracurricular affairs. Her discomfort over this, along with increasingly fond memories of a more conventional relationship she'd had back home, make it difficult for Jayne to make this lush new life her own. Sneed is very good at elucidating the doubts that plague many women when it comes to their careers. "Why do you make a joke of your ambition?" Laurent asks Jayne. "It isn't a joke." This frothy novel, about sex and secrets in the city of light, contains many observations about womanhood, personhood and the ever elusive but never-too-late-to-learn "knack for happiness."
— Julia Pierpont