French Lover : A Novel
by Taslima Nasreen
French Lover is the story of Nilanjana, a young Bengali woman from Kolkata who moves to Paris after getting married to Kishanlal, a restaurant owner. Kishanlal's luxurious apartment seems to be a gilded cage for Nilanjana, and she feels stifled within its friendless confines. Her marriage, where she functions as little more than a housekeeper and sex object, is far from fulfilling and Nilanjana desperately looks for a way out of the boredom and depression that threaten to engulf her. It is at this point that she meets Benoir Dupont, a blond, blue-eyed handsome Frenchman, and is swept off her feet. Benoir introduces Nilanjana to the streets, cafes and art galleries of Paris. In her passionate, sexually liberating relationship with Benoir, she finally begins to have an inkling of her own desires. The relationship ends when Nilanjana realises that Benoir's first priority is himself and not the woman he loves, and that her need for him has ended. But her road to self-discovery has only just begun. Bold in concept and powerful in execution, French Lover is a fascinating glimpse into the workings of a woman's mind as she struggles to come to terms with her identity in a hostile world.