The French Cure is a novel about a year in the life of Claire Murphy, a wild child who has managed to extend her twenties into her forties by never settling down to anything much at all. Running on instinct and a determined refusal to take on the shackles of conventional success–less out of conviction than out of the fear of being pinned down–Claire has eschewed marriage, children, and security in favor of travel, affairs, and a loosely-constructed freelance career.
The French Cure charts Claire’s inner and outer journey as she moves from California to Paris, and then to rural France. The raw impulse to escape a soured relationship propels her travels, but this time, there is no escaping her confusion and pain. Licking her wounds, she retreats to a part of the world still steeped in traditional values and simplicity, and stays still long enough to figure out what really matters to her. It’s not what you might think……..
Author’s Note: The idea that provided the spark for The French Cure came in 1993 when I was living in Portland, Oregon, in a community of much-traveled, restless people. One day I was mulling over the growing collective addiction to travel and movement, and wondering what it would be like if people could all of a sudden no longer travel at all. The character of Claire Murphy appeared in my mind fully formed, as characters sometimes do, and I wrote part of a short story about her, put it away and soon forgot all about it.
Nine years later I moved from California to Paris, and Claire popped up again. This time the story she told was longer and more complex, and over the next nine months became a novel. Uppermost in my mind was the desire to write a story that did not moralise a woman’s independence and expressions of freedom, nor pigeon-hole her as only that. During the writing of the novel I myself moved from Paris to Southwest France, just like Claire, although my experience was rather different. My life in Paris and later in the Southwest was vivid and inspiring, and I poured all of that richness into this novel. I don’t know to this day if the novel impelled me to go live in those places, or if the places created the novel. Or both. Alice Walker has written about searching for the house in which to write her next novel, and of the voices in her head–the voices of her future characters–telling her which was the right place to be. I can relate. It’s been my experience with my fiction and non-fiction that they are greatly supported by the environment in which they are born, and feel as if they could not have been written anywhere else. And I have–always briefly, for I couldn’t bear it–lived in places where I could not write a word.
“I just finished reading this wonderful book. I think in many ways, this is a women’s book. It is about endings and beginnings, courage, transformation, change, and following one’s inner compass which is not always easy and sometimes makes no sense. Enjoy!!!” Amazon.com reviewer
“I loved The French Cure. Lara Owen’s description of feelings is wonderful — never mawkish or clever but rich and insightful.” Judy D. England.
You can buy The French Cure at most of the online retailers; you can ask your local bookstore to order it; you can buy it directly from Lulu.
Lara Owen writes and researches on menstruation, work, and feminism. Based in Melbourne, she teaches and consults internationally.