Taslima Nasrin’s novel, French Lover, charts the story of a woman in search of her independent identity and love in the City of Love, Paris.
Summary Of The Book
Nilanjana may seem like an ordinary girl from a Bengali family but her dreams and hopes are much bigger than what Kolkata can offer. She soon embarks on a journey that takes her to the City of Paris. However, this is not an intentional journey. She moves to Paris with her husband, Kishanlal, who owns a restaurant.
Despite having all the luxuries, Nilanjana feels trapped in her apartment and within her marriage. She is treated less as an individual and more as an object of sexual pleasure. She is reduced to a caretaker of the apartment. She finds herself wishing for ways to make her life more fulfilling.
She leaves her marriage and moves in with Danielle, a lesbian. Her relationship with Danielle is similar to her previous marriage with Kishanlal, where she is treated more like a sexual object. She meets Benoir Dupont on the plane back to Paris from Kolkata and he introduces her to the art, culture and food of Paris. Soon Nilanjana discovers liberation through her sexual encounters with Dupont. She understands the need to fulfill her own desires.
However, this extra-marital affair ends abruptly when Nilanjana realizes that Dupont is not a selfless lover. In her journey to discover herself, she learns from Dupont to love herself most and encounters various incidents that finally help her attain her freedom. The author, through French Lover, tries to showcase the life of a woman trapped in a typical marriage within the patriarchal norms and the ways in which she is able to liberate herself from these social chains.
About Taslima Nasrin
Taslima Nasrin is a Bengali author who is most famous for her feminist writings and critique of Islam. Her other works include My Bengali Girlhood, All About Women, Fallen Prose Of A Fallen Girl, The Opponent, Tell Him The Secret, Shame Again and Getting Even.
Nasrin was born in 1962 in Mymensingh in Bangladesh. In 1994, she had to escape Bangladesh after the publication of Lajja which contained writings against Islam. She lived in several countries including Germany, Sweden and India. She has worked for various newspapers while living in Kolkata including Anandabazar Patrika, The Statesman and Desh. She has received several awards such as Ananda literary Award, Natyasava Award, Human Rights Award from the Government of France, Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thoughts from the European Parliament, Monismanien Prize from Uppsala University and many more. Currently, she resides in New Delhi and works with activists in order to promote freedom of thought, equality rights for women, secular humanism and basic human rights.