Paris in July: Amants by Catherine Guillebaud


This is the story of a man and a woman who fall in love with each other and start an affair even though they are both married. They can’t live together, but can’t be without each other either.

It is an unreasonable “amour fou”, but deep, passionate and extremely painful for both of them. 

In a nutshell:

I liked it:  x Yes         No

For people who… don’t mind a love story that involves adultery. Who like strong feelings. Who like a detached writing style. Who don’t mind a story with no happily ever after.

My thoughts: 

It seems as if this book is not translated into English so it is kind of pointless to review it in English, but maybe there are some people out there who are interested in reading it in the original French language.

I liked this book very much even though the writing style is very different from what I normally read. Catherine Guillebaud tells us the story of two people who meet, separate, get together again, this time with the intention of starting a love affair and then spend the next years as a secret, but extremely passionate couple. She talks about them as if she was a completely innocent bystander without any judgement or emotions. The woman and the man are never called by their name (except that, I think once each of their names are mentioned, but in a casual way), they are just “the man” and “the woman” or “he” and “she”.

They spend their lives mostly apart and this leads to a lot of discontent and bad feelings towards each other even though they crave being together. Their relationship sometimes takes quite a dubious way towards dominance and submission, this is probably slightly uncomfortable for some readers.

I can’t say I *enjoyed* reading this story, but it was a very good read that explored the deep emotions, mainly of the woman, who was trapped in a parallel life with her lover as well as in her “real” life about which we hardly learn anything. She only exists for the hours or days with her lover. When the man falls ill towards the end she suffers terribly as she is far away from him and first knows nothing about his whereabouts and later nothing about his condition. Eventually at the end, when they see each other again, everything is left open. We don’t know what is going to happen.

Product info and buy link :

Title Zwei Liebende (German translation)
Author Catherine Guillebaud
Publisher Fischer
ISBN 9783596160082
Buy link “Zwei Liebende” kaufen

Title Amants (French original)
Author Catherine Guillebaud
Publisher Seuil
ISBN 978-2020606547
Buy link Buy "Amants"

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I’d love to hear other opinions.

1 Comment Write a comment

  1. I tend to leave the book if i cant read it in original language (Polish, Italian or English).

    I always thought that it loses some of “juice” with the translation.

    Author has played with words in HIS language in a certain manner for a reason.

    Very often with translation all that is lost.
    Luke’s last post ..What degree should i get


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