Day 2 of Book Advent –
Adam Gopnik used to be a writer for the New Yorker and this book is a collection of essays about the time he spent in a certain French city with his family. A period of five years in which he got to navigate the city and French lifestyle both physically and metaphorically
We are off to PARIS!
Interestingly this male perspective of moving from The US to Paris is not one that I have read much about -and his innocence evident at the start to the reality he faces and understands better at the end.
He will only stay in Paris for 5 years and then must return to New York but not before he has experienced everything that Paris has to offer –
He talks of the food, the cobbled streets, the crowds by the Seine – you can picture it all. There are many comparisons of course to New York and one of them which I found hard to identify with having lived in both cities myself was this –
“We go to cities to be invisible, or to be invisible and visible by turns, and it is hard to be invisible in Paris.”
I think Paris like any city has a danger of swallowing you up whole and although I have never found Parisians to be rude, I am surprised that the author didn’t see the risk of becoming invisible amidst the twinkly bright lights of the Eiffel tower – lost amongst the shadows of the lonely cobbled backstreets and the tourists.
There are a lot of references to characters in books and TV is this book – Gatsby for example which adds a literary thrill to both the author’s and readers experiences of his trip around the city.
If you want to visit the Posh Parisian department stores, go on the rides at the Luxembourg Gardens and pop into the Ritz, then this book will certainly take you there.
As the book was written before the Euro came into being, there is also the feeling of stepping back in time. France pre Euro and post Euro changed dramatically and there are things here that I had forgotten and so it was nice to revisit
I recommend that anyone who loves France should do the same.