Back in 2002, Bertrand finally finishes his phone call, and asks Julia what she thinks of the apartment, “cupping [her] ass with a careless, possessive hand” as he does so. Bertrand, Julia, and Zoë discuss the apartment before Julia announces that she has to leave for work. Bertrand takes multiple digs at Julia for being American. Zoë admonishes her father, grasping her mother’s hand and telling Bertrand, “Papa, stop it, you’re so rude!”
This chapter introduces the tension in Julia’s relationship with her husband. Bertrand’s teasing tends to focus on Julia’s “outsider” status as an American, and Julia’s growing discomfort with this teasing hints that she may be approaching a breaking point. This chapter also underscores the close bond Julia has with her daughter, as Zoë tries to come to Julia’s defense.