Compared to the citizens of just about every other nation, Americans are the least adept at having affairs, have the most trouble enjoying them, and suffer the most in their aftermath and Pamela Druckerman has the facts to prove it. The journalist's surprising findings include: Russian spouses don't count beach resort flings as infidelity South Africans consider drunkenness an adequate excuse for extramarital sex Japanese businessmen believe, "If you pay, it's not cheating."
Voyeuristic and packed with eyebrow-raising statistics and interviews, Lust in Translation is her funny and fact-filled world tour of infidelity that will give new meaning to the phrase "practicing monogamy."
- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; First edition (March 25, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143113291
- ISBN-13: 978-0143113294
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
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Unique & humorous perspective on cultural differences
As someone who thoroughly enjoys reading about other cultures and people, this book fit my occasional non-fiction reading habits. I wasn’t looking for anything “heavy” – as in, full of facts, figures, dates, or history. And, I certainly wanted to stay away from anything that seemed academic or dry.
It’s fair to say that if you’re looking for relatively creative non-fiction spanning several cultures that are not frequently bunched together or compared (including Hasidic Jews, French, and Chinese), you’ll find it hard to put down this book.
In my opinion, Druckerman’s writing style mirrors what you would expect from a former Wall Street Journal reporter. She mixes interviews, statistics, and commentary in a nearly seamless manner. In a sense, it’s a collection of long articles – each relating to a different culture’s practices and perspectives relating to infidelity.
There are many funny tidbits (using words you usually don’t see in serious non-fiction) about how each culture covered refers to affairs in their language – often using slang terms. I laughed out loud a few times.
To me, the best contribution of the book is comparing the stereotypes regarding infidelity for each culture to how it is currently viewed within the culture. I was left surprised that anyone would share some of the details described in the book – even on an anonymous basis.
My overall conclusion is that this book falls into the category of “Truth is stranger than fiction.” The way Druckerman handles this topic, it’s possibly more funny than fiction, too.
Shrinking things down to size…
Better zine piece than a book
A guide for the perplexed?
As one whose work takes him across the glob, I recognized the ring of authentnicity in the chapters dealing with societies that I know. Druckerman’s observations deciphered for me some of the behavioral characteristics that I witnessed but did not fathom in societies that I visited. A great reading for anyone who travels the world — perhaps a must reading for international corporation staff or UN-type personnel. It is a “guide for the perplexed”-cum-travel guide for the uncharted roads of infidelity.
Tendency toward judgment
Sensitive, smart and well-written
It’s difficult finding things no one wants you to know…
The problem with books like this is that they are trying to pry into the minds of people who don’t want to share their indiscretions in many cases. Ever heard “once a cheater, always a cheater”? You’re more likely to get a decent look at the mind of a serial killer than a cheater. The book takes a lofty goal of trying to figure out when, why and how much cheating actually has taken place in the past, present and future; and it accomplishes that goal. Mostly.
I think it’s worth the read. It has some interesting stats and anecdotal evidence that shatters some misconceptions. Such ideas I had before reading this book was that cheating was far more commonplace than it is and that cheating in certain cultures is openly accepted. You hear it a lot (at least in America) that the French invented a word for threesomes because they are so open about sex.
Fun and Interesting
The discussion is backed up by research, but the real insights are what she extracts from the numbers vs. cultural stereotypes/expectations on cheating – e.g. that in America it’s our narrative about “the lies”. (I don’t want to tell you too much.)
I would consider this book “pop anthropology” (and I am an Anthropologist) as it gives insight into the psyche – on a cultural level – behind infidelity and how we view it. All in all, a very enlightening (on different concepts/ideals re: cheating) and fascinating read.