Lust in Translation

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Penguin Group Australia, Sep 29, 2007 - Family & Relationships - 320 pages
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Is what the French mean by infidelity the same as what Australians mean? Or the same as the Japanese, or the Finns? Do different countries have different rules when it comes to extramarital sex?

Delving into this taboo subject, Pamela Druckerman interviewed people all over the world, from retirees in South Florida to Muslim polygamists in Indonesia; from Hasidic Jews to the men who keep their mistresses in a concubine village outside Hong Kong. She talked to psychologists, sex researchers, marriage counsellors, and, most of all, cheaters and the people they've cheated on.

Russian husbands and wives don't believe that beach-resort flings violate their marital vows. Japanese businessmen declare, "If you pay, it's not cheating". And South Africans may be the masters of creative accounting – pollsters there had to create separate categories for men who cheat and men who cheat only when drunk.

With all this bending of the boundaries of marriage, knowing that by international standards Australians are extremely faithful may come as comforting news. Or maybe not.

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Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Druckerman (former foreign correspondent,Wall Street Journal ) explores marital infidelity worldwide. She builds on the concept of sexual cultures-groups with shared ideas about the "rules" (official ... Read full review

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I came to this book through my interest in Druckerman's books on parenting. It's a quick read, and irritatingly low on anything resembling science or research. Instead, Druckerman substitutes interviews - with philanderers, with scientists, with couples, with counselors. This is very much a journalist’s approach to the topic, but I think my personal bent when it comes to nonfiction that is not history, is towards scholars. It’s not comprehensive, it’s not particularly titillating, it’s not deep and it’s not personal. It’s OK. If you like interviews and personal narratives, this is your book. If you find yourself shouting “anecdotes are not data” while you read factual books based on individual stories – skip it. 

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About the author (2007)

Pamela Druckerman is a former staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal. She has a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia University, and has reported from Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Jerusalem, Paris and New York. She lives in Paris.

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