Fifty-year-old Bob Johnson, successful executive and the only French-speaking executive in his office, arrives in Paris one week ahead of a multi-billion dollar bank acquisition deal. But when Bob’s boss’s incessant calls, reminders and micro-managing drive him over the edge, Bob ditches his designer-clothes-clad corporate identity in the pursuit of a better life inspired by beautiful women, sex and far too much wine. But in his euphoria of sex and booze on the streets of Paris, Bob finds something else that he might be lacking – real human relationship.
Author Ken Samanski’s characters are larger-than-life stereotypes of stressed out corporate executives, French bombshells and over-sexed Frenchmen. As Bob, or “Buhb” as the French call him, sets off on a self-indulgent binge of fun, flirtation, sex, booze and general goofiness with characters such as a sexy French celebrity, a homeless man who he calls the Economist because of the logo on his sweat shirt, and the guys at the basketball court. But, Bob begins to rethink his life and experiences when a French introduces herself as his daughter, he encounters his ex-wife and her fiancée, and he finds himself very smitten by a woman named Simone.
Samanski’s details about the life in France are well woven into the narrative and often entertaining in their fresh descriptions: “I swallowed the drink in one gulp, and it went down like gasoline on a campfire. A minute later, the shot had exorcized a week-and-a-half of indigestion, and my teeth were clean.” Bob’s sexual exploits provide ample opportunity for some hilarious and embellished observations about his “Buhb-babe radar”, “Buhb-Richter scale” and “Mister Eiffel Tower” or his “Bastille”. While some might balk at the macho and bonding talk complete with crude language; if seen as part of the male bonding and crisis that Bob is going through, Bob is almost endearing at times when, for example, Bob’s basketball buddies razz him about his sexual escapades and affectionately refer to him as “Mr. Whore.”
BANKING ON PARIS is raunchy, rollicking fun for Francophiles seeking chick-lit for the male menopause.
Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader