Jennifer Reese
June 09, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Woman in the Row Behind

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Francoise Dorner
publisher
Other Press
genre
Fiction
We gave it a B-

”My husband would wake at three minutes to five, and by five o’clock we had made love,” moans Nina, narrator of Françoise Dorner’s precious first novel The Woman in the Row Behind. ”I was happy for him, but…” Nina, who runs a Paris newspaper kiosk, begins peeking at porn magazines. Soon she’s servicing a stranger (the first man ”who trusted my mouth and my steely little teeth”) under a café table. Is her hubby also restless? To find out, she approaches him in disguise in a darkened cinema. But instead of a spicy encounter, Nina’s absurd experiment leads to endless, earnest hand-wringing about her dreary marriage, and this saucy little fiction becomes a bore.

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