The Christian Science Monitor says that Dreaming in French is the #1 nonfiction book to look out for this spring!
In the Daily Beast, Lauren Elkin praises Dreaming in French‘s “compelling and well-observed portraits.” She points out that, while we have been told story after story of young men finding art, life, and love in Paris, “The stories of girls overseas have not often been part of the canon of American expatriate writing,” Elkin expands on her review a bit at her own site, writing about how the book is particularly affecting for anyone who’s been “a twenty year old American woman discovering Paris for the first time.”
At Salon, Laura Miller raves about Dreaming in French: “Superbly perceptive. . . . Kaplan is a master at . . . selecting just the right aspect of everyday experience to illuminate an important point she wants to make. . . . Some books are well-written on a sentence-by-sentence basis; you leaf back through the pages to find you’ve underscored choice lines. Dreaming in French is the sort of book where you (well, I) draw vertical lines next to entire paragraphs. Kaplan produces some exquisite lines, yes, but she is positively incandescent on the level of thoughts and observations.”
Bill Goldstein praises Dreaming in French on NBC’s “Today’s New York” in this video clip.
The Age, from Melbourne, praises Kaplan’s sensitivity, which “winkles excellence” from these women’s stories. Bouvier “is rehabilitated here on the grounds of her ‘quiet power and uncanny intelligence,’” while the portrait of Angela Davis is “incandescent.”
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune calls Dreaming in French “an elegant and entertaining work.”
“Gossip is one of the key pleasures—but far from the only one—to be found in Alice Kaplan’s absorbing new book,” writes Maria Bustillos at Slate. “It’s a book, to some extent, about the desirability of abandoning or attenuating one’s Americanness.”
The Boston Globe writes, “Dreaming in French is, in essence a collection of three short, stand-alone biographies. But Kaplan is a talented historian, journalist, and storyteller, and so she’s crafted a book greater than the sum of its parts. . . . An informative,well-written work of biographical nonfiction.”
“Kaplan admirably lets the three women often speak for themselves, through interviews, diaries or autobiographies. The portions on Bouvier are the most fun . . . ” writes Becky Krystal in this review in the Washington Post.
Michel Basilieres in the Toronto Star is also impressed: “Lively. . . . The links Kaplan makes between these cultures and these women deliver fascinating insight to the conditions and changes surging through not only these particular lives, but those of Americans in general.”
Alice Kaplan talks about Angela Davis’s experience in Paris in this brief video from the Nation.
This is an enduring group profile of three influential yet completely different American women, for each of whom Paris played a short but transformative role, over three tumultuous decades. … The much-admired Kaplan (French Lessons: A Memoir) focuses sharply on three women of successive generations, providing a keen feminist-cultural picture of Paris’s enduring, if varied, impact.