Stick with this through the tedious bits. Some of it is very funny - like the stay in Providence, Rhode Island. A lot is very moving. There is a harrowing account of Austin losing the love of his life to Aids which stays with you long after you have finished the book.
Exhausted, in a panic, squeezed in behind the wheel of Volkswagen Sirocco, Austin would come home trailing student papers and lecture notes to find Julien lying in bed, the six grandfather clocks in the house ringing out the hour in slight discrepancy. Julien, like any good French husband, expected two hot meals on the table every day, each with a starter, a main course, a cheese and a sweet. And he wanted Austin to do the shopping every day; he refused to eat anything frozen.