Lust in Translation by Pamela Druckerman

August 15th, 2008 at 8:00 am

I have a belligerent faith in books because they provide an extended, crafted argument in a world increasingly dominated by passing headlines, talking points, blurbs, pundits, scandal, and hype.

In many major news stories affecting our lives, books have become the final say.

So it was with distinct pleasure that I found myself reading Pamela Druckerman’s Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee when John Edwards admitted to having an affair. If only I had picked it up during the Spitzer Scandal! Clinton! Kobe! It’s so applicable!

Lust in Translation by Pamela Druckerman

When the shit first hits the fan or when the dust finally settles, books are there to provide a welcome breath of analyzed, reasoned lore.

For her anthropological romp on infidelity, Druckerman discusses the cheating lives of citizens in America, France, Russia, Japan, Africa, and China, weaving statistics with anecdotal research with the casual ease of a smart, interesting friend after two glasses of wine. It’s all very interesting, as captivating as a light, breezy travelogue as we visit Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn and polygamist Muslims in Indonesia.

While hard facts on infidelity are inherently difficult to obtain, this much emerges: Americans, the British, and the French are, despite the scandals and the railing of puritanical moralists, decidedly chaste; Russians and Africans, however, much less so.

The politics of professional sport’s sexual culture and the (in booming voice) “marriage industrial complex” both seemed so interesting as to warrant their own books.

The next time a sex scandal breaks, say, a professional athlete is found cheating with some random girl he just met, remember Max Clifford, the publicist who explains how young girls go to clubs with targets and call his office so as to determine which john would garner the highest compensation in exchange for a “story” with said individual.

And in a real coup, Authwhore has received its most prestigious endorsement yet. A 1950’s Ladies Home Journal “advised its readers that the way to hold on to a husband isn’t to lose weight and buy new lingerie, it’s to ‘read, read, read! And then talk about books, articles, movies, and news together…’”

That’s right. Because Reading is Sexy.

Look for the Authwhore diet books next Spring.

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