‘Le Mariage‘ launched my phase of infatuation with Diane Johnson and her work about expats, a somewhat separatist culture with which I am very familiar. I still read snippets of this book and ‘Le Divorce’ (never, never, never see that movie, it was an awful adaptation) every once in awhile. The author has a wonderful eye and ear and attention for the detail that distinguishes one culture from another, and the idiosyncrasies of each. I think she’s influenced my writing tremendously because her voice is both dispassionate and intimate.
She seems to be hovering somewhat above and apart from her characters, and yet we learn very intimate things about them. We are privy to some of their thoughts but at the same time, we get the sense that we do not see everything, leaving room for the element of surprise.
I tried to do some of that in my book ‘Unsuitable Men’. We learn something about Brendan and Tracy and how they feel and see the world by getting into their heads, but there are still things that the reader learns that are not completely apparent, though hints were provided along the way. Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m no Diane Johnson. At least not yet. 😉