Fiction: “Lorna Mott Comes Home” review

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“Are Americans still Americans when they are transplanted or are they becoming something else? Asked the heroine of Diane Johnson’s “Le Divorce”, the premiere of her beloved Parisian trilogy – with “The Marriage” and “The Affair” – which plunged into and gently evoked the love life of American expatriates in France. And if they have become something else, asks Mrs Johnson in her most charming latest novel, “Lorna Mott Comes Home” (Knopf, 322 pages, $ 28), can they become Americans again?

Art historian and grandmother Lorna Mott Dumas, in her sixties, is the novel’s adventurous test case. For 20 years, she lived in a small Provencal village with her second husband, Armand-Loup, until evidence of many highly stereotypical abuses shattered the romance and sent her back to San Francisco in the hope of turning the scene. page. Lorna arrives during the 2008 recession as Rip Van Winkle, astonished by the changes that have taken place in her hometown in her absence – impossible property costs combined with increased misery and discomfort in the quality of life for all but the poor. richer, not to mention the pervasiveness of a strange sort of principled dissatisfaction. “A layer of moral anxiety has thickened the air now,” she observes.


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