Married; children: one daughter.
Journalist and author. Former foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.
Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee, Penguin Press (New York, NY), 2007.
Pamela Druckerman is a journalist and former foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. She first began to research her debut book, Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee, while working from Latin America. It struck her that people in the United States held a very different set of beliefs regarding the concept of infidelity within a marriage, and that it would be interesting to travel around the world and interview individuals from different countries and cultures to see how their ideas about infidelity differed. Why do people cheat? What does it mean regarding their current relationships, and what does it say about the future of those couples? Druckerman spent three years researching her subject, and traveled to ten different countries in order to get a feel for a wide range of opinions on the situation. As an American, she used American ideals as her standard, but she soon found that her notions regarding infidelity tended to be very different than those held in most other cultures. Cheating has far less of an effect on relationships in many other nations, while in the United States many individuals believe it signals the end of a marriage or long-term relationship. And while attitudes about sex in general seem not to be an issue, lying about the status of a relationship appears to be of far greater concern. In an interview for Salon.com, Druckerman explained why she wanted to write about adultery: "Americans have gotten more permissive about practically every mainstream sexual issue in the last 30 years—from divorce to homosexuality to cohabitation to premarital sex to having kids out of wedlock. But our thinking about adultery has become even stricter since the '70s. So there is something special going on in American life about fidelity, and I wanted to look at what that was."
Druckerman herself moved to Paris, married, and had a daughter over the course of her research, an incredibly optimistic move given the questions she was asking people about the strength of their relationships at that time. She feels her research has given her a more practical approach to the idea of adultery, telling Lena Corner in an interview for the Independent Online: "I have become more realistic, or is that fatalistic, about it. I do now think it could easily happen to me. And, if it does, I won't automatically assume my marriage is kaput."
Lust in Translation has met with a great deal of critical attention since its publication. Polly Vernon, writing for the Observer Online, called it "an excellent book," adding: "It's funny, it's compulsive, it's surprising, it's the million soap operas that make up other people's love lives. But it also raises an important issue. At the core of the book is a possibility: does fidelity matter that much?" Library Journal critic Elizabeth L. Winter concluded that Druckerman's book "provides an intriguing look at attitudes about adultery around the world."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Economist, March 31, 2007, "International Relations: Having Affairs," p. 92.
Library Journal, February 15, 2007, Elizabeth L. Winter, review of Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee, p. 139.
Maclean's, April 23, 2007, "‘In Russia Even Those Who Were Circumspect about Affairs Said They Were a Harmless Vice, Like an Occasional Drink’: Pamela Druckerman, Author of ‘Lust in Translation,’ Talks to Kate Fillion about Infidelity and the Best Place to Have an Affair," p. 14.
Publishers Weekly, February 5, 2007, review of Lust in Translation, p. 50.
Bookslut,http://www.bookslut.com/ (May 1, 2007), Michelle Risley, review of Lust in Translation.
Daily Yomiuri Online,http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/ (July 14, 2007), Christina Kuntz, "Infidelity Study Inconclusive Yet Intriguing."
Independent Online,http://arts.independent.co.uk/ (June 3, 2007), Lena Corner, "Mrs Infidelity: Lust in Translation Author Pamela Druckerman."
Observer Online,http://observer.guardian.co.uk/ (July 8, 2007), Polly Vernon, "Is Anyone Faithful Anymore?"
Salon.com,http://www.salon.com/ (April 23, 2007), Yael Kohen, "An International Affair."