Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Staff Writer with The New Yorker, Lauren Collins, shares her journey of learning French in the name of love –and what it means to love someone in a second language
When in French - Love in a Second Language
LISTEN to Janeane's conversation with Lauren Collins!
New Yorker writer shares her journey of learning French in the name of love –and what it means to love someone in a second language
“A thoughtful, beautifully written meditation on the art of language and intimacy. The book unfolds like several books in one: on moving abroad, on communication in human relationships, on the history of language, and in the end, on the delights of cross-cultural fusion.”—The New York Times Book Review
A staff writer at The New Yorker since 2008, Lauren Collins has profiled subjects from Michelle Obama and Gérard Depardieu to April Bloomfield and Donatella Versace. In her bestselling book, WHEN IN FRENCH: Love in a Second Language, now available in paperback, Collins turns an unwavering eye on herself. When, in her early thirties, Colllins moves to London and falls for a Frenchman named Oliver, she discovers firsthand that a language barrier is no match for love. Unable to speak French herself, their relationship develops solely in English. When the couple, newly married, relocates to francophone Geneva, Collins—fearful of one day becoming "a Borat of a mother" who doesn’t understand her own kids—decides to answer these questions for herself by learning French.
Lauren Collins as she shares her journey of what it means to love someone in a second language, including:
· Wondering about the things she doesn’t understand about Olivier, having never spoken to him in his native tongue
· Whether “I love you” even means the same thing as “je t’aime”
· Grappling with the complexities of the French language and accidently telling her mother-in-law that she’s given birth to a coffee machine
· Wrestling with the very nature of French identity and society—a far cry from life back home in North Carolina.
Plumbing the mysterious depths of humanity’s many forms of language, Collins describes with wicked humor and great style the frustrations, embarrassments, surprises, and, finally, joys of learning—and living in—French.
About the Author:
Lauren Collins began working at the New Yorker in 2003 and became a staff writer in 2008. Her subjects have included Michelle Obama, Donatella Versace, the graffiti artist Banksy, and the chef April Bloomfield. Since 2010, she has been based in Europe, covering stories from London, Paris, Copenhagen, and beyond. Her story on the Daily Mail was recently short-listed for the Feature Story of the Year by the Foreign Press Association in London.