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I enjoyed Lust in Translation. I found it to have a good balance between am overly (Social) Science approach that would drain the topic of all general interest, and keeping it light and accessible. Call it "pop" social science if you will.
The discussion is backed up by research, but the real insights are what she extracts from the numbers vs. cultural stereotypes/expectations on cheating - e.g. that in America it's our narrative about "the lies". (I don't want to tell you too much.)
I would consider this book "pop anthropology" (and I am an Anthropologist) as it gives insight into the psyche - on a cultural level - behind infidelity and how we view it. All in all, a very enlightening (on different concepts/ideals re: cheating) and fascinating read.
Despite the lack of quantitative data, Pamela Druckerman is giving an interesting perspective of what adultery is and means over the world. Even though the author's perspectives are a bit culturally biased (she is American), she points rightfully elements of culture, of sociology, of moral, of religion which explain at least what is considered as "cheating" or not.
The limits of this book lie in the fact that it sometimes fall into cultural cliches and a certain ethnocentrism. The author, a former Wall Street Journal journalist based in Paris (France), remains partially prisoner of her own culture.
However, this is a stimulating reading, which opens interesting perspectives for cross-cultural couples, but also our unformulated conceptions of what is a "good couple".
This book gave a brief view of how infidelity is viewed in different countries. The author was very upfront on the challenges that she had with getting historical data and the methodology she used in gathering anecdotal information in the countries she visited. This book is not presented in an academic manner but reads more like a long magazine article. It entertaining because the reader as able to see how different cultures approached relationships and was made more fascinating because this is not a subject that the average visitor to a country would be able to discuss and get perspectives from a variety of persons. I liked this book and as long as the reader understands that the subject matter is being presented in a superficial way having being investigated by one person it should be a satisfying read.
Interesting and insightful look at the way different cultures handle infidelity, cheating, lying, and marriage. I couldn't put this book down! Her interviews and historical anecdotes are very eye opening in the way each culture views relationships.
This book is a fascinating look at gloabal sexuality that reveals how culture affects gender roles. The western world - perhaps all else also - are too quick to believe their way is best. I found that we all share common sexual desires but face segmented values. This book is worth the purchase page by page.
Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 2020
The best book I have read this year. A very comprehensive review of the mores on adultery in several countries around the world. Some of the practices shocked me and I laughed out loud. Men want sex and women provide it. Wives don't, apparently. I was very much aware of sexual customs in Europe, the Middle East and the U.S. where I have lived, but the Asian countries got me floored, so did the chapter about Orthodox Jews and the one about South Africa, which is scary and dangerous. The author has described in depth the queer customs of the countries she has researched. Very interesting. Monogamy looks on its way out. Admittedly, it is boring and both women and men need spice in their lives.
Pamela Druckerman, author of "Bringing Up Bebe," takes a similarly gripping yet unscientific world tour of adultery in "Lust in Translation." Her conclusion? That the American response to an affair, “panicky confrontations, our knee-jerk threats of divorce, our faith in the redemptive power of marriage counseling, and even our assumption that honesty is the highest value of coupledom” is cultural. “Societies have their own rules on who can cheat, and for what reasons.” For a married Japanese woman with a lover, “feeling guilty hadn’t occurred to her, since she was meeting her obligations to her family.” Though the numbers Druckerman cites are now quite outdated and her analysis is admittedly both anecdotal and reductivist, it’s all still fascinating and smoothly-written enough to keep the pages turning: “In an attitudes survey done in 1994, nearly 40 percent of Russians said affairs are ‘not at all’ wrong or ‘only sometimes’ wrong—compared to 6 percent of Americans answering similarly.”