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Meet Me At Père Lachaise: a guided tour of Père Lachaise Cemetery Paperback – May 1, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Anna Erikssön currently resides in Los Angeles and New York. Her fascination with Père Lachaise began at an early age, and over the years, she has researched people buried there so that each time she returned, she had a richer experience. Her efforts began with painters, Caillbotte and Seurat whose works she admired from her childhood visits to Chicago's The Art Institute, and expanded to people like Maria Callas and Rossini whose brilliant music she shared with her mother...and then there is her love of Brillat-Savarin and the cheese named for him!
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 102 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace; Updated Cover Art Edition edition (May 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452852138
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452852133
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.2 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #942,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I read this book cover to cover the first time I picked it up and have returned to it several more times since then. You are literally transported there with every page and you cannot stop reading!
Anna and Mason's deep affection for this place comes through in the eloquent and clever writing and breathtaking photographs. While this book chronicles the residents of a cemetery, I couldn't help but feel a wonderful sense of life from learning more about each of them. I loved how Anna told you things about them that weren't the typical, boring textbook facts you are used to, she made them so real and accessible. It is also a joy to own a book that gives you a peek into the soul of its authors. This kind of passion cannot be fabricated. Anna's "do and don't tips" was so touching and sweet. Mason's photos are so haunting and dramatic. Whether or not you ever make the trip to visit Pere Lachaise, you must tour it through this book, it is amazing! And if you do go there in person, please leave it better than how you found it!!!
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Format: Paperback
In the summer or 2010 I visited Pere Lachaise. I had purchased this book in advance and found it quite helpful. We even dined at the recommended restaurant and found the food delicious. The photos are wonderful and I enjoyed learning fun facts about people buried there. Looking forward to vol. 2! There are so many interesting people buried in Pere Lachaise.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was so much better than I expected. I had bought it to see the
final resting place of a kindred spirit & muse Jim Morrison. I was 14 yrs. old when
"The Doors" music started to be known.
Unfortunely, I wasn't old enough to appreciate the poetry of its lead singer
Jim Morrison. Fast forward 44 yrs and I was again drawn to listen to this music with
a mature mind, spirit & ears. His presence has been with me for 6 months. What does
this mean? As I writer, teacher & poet, he comes back into my life at the perfect time.
If you are not a fan of Jim Morrison, this book has the greatest composers, musicians
opera singers & famous writers & poets included. Their pictures, lifes & resting place are shown in
great detail.
A wonderful trip.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
...at Pere Lachaise...Not that Mason Bendewald's photographs aren't grand(they are!),it's just that Anna Eriksson's writing is awful,and it takes up most of the 102 pages of this book.
Ms.Eriksson,it seems,is a Pere Lachaise groupie,going on and on and on and on about her experiences in the cemetery,and these experiences are not very interesting.Besides which,she is a preachy bore,laying down her own groundrules about what to do and what not to do while visiting the cemetery,as if the place belonged to her and the rest of us are just guests.
To further complicate matters Ms.Eriksson chose to write trite little biographical capsules that accompany mr.Bendewald's superb photographs..The problem here is that apparently Ms.Eriksson is not up to the task.Take,for example,her essay on Marcel Proust;ms.Eriksson claims to be"intimidated"by Proust...she labels him"great"while admitting that she has never read a word that he has written..she also equates the notion of reading Proust to"mental heavy lifting",and yet she goes on and on for several pages about him.
Another of Ms.Eriksson's shortcomings are her terriblejokes(or should I call them alledged jokes?)Trying to be funny is nice,but failing to do so is pathetic,especially when your failures are in print.
All in all,I would gladly meet Mr.Bendewald at Pere Lachaise,if for no other reason than to watch a masterful photographer at work...but I would do so on the strict condition that he left Ms.Eriksson behind at the cemetery gate.
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This book was truly enchanting. All the small stories were just wonderful. The pictures were also wonderful - this book was a joy to read. And makes one want to visit this historical cemetery. Highly recommend.
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Even though a few famous interns of Père Lachaise Cemetery aren't included in this book (i.e., Honoré de Balzac, Georges Bizet, Marie Dubas and Richard Wright) Meet Me At Père Lachaise is still an exceptional book nonetheless. There are two main reasons why it earns 5 stars. First in this day and age of gossip and slander it would've been easy to go into unnecessary detail about some of these people's faults and imperfections but fortunately you won't find tawdry hit pieces or sordid drama about people like Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf and Oscar Wilde in any of these pages. What you get instead are profiles that are fair to both the reader and each famous person covered.
And in as much as the profiles are well-written, the other high point of Meet Me At Père Lachaise are the sharp, museum quality black and white photographs that are very touching are respectfully taken. My only suggestion to Anna and Mason for a follow up book is please consider taking pictures of the graves while it's overcast, raining, or at sunset to create a more visually somber ambiance of the cemetery.
Again, this is a remarkable book well-worth buying.
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Format: Paperback
Right away with Anna Eriksson and Mason Bendewald's arresting book Meet Me at Pere Lachaise, I got the sense that I was on an intimate afternoon jaunt together with the author and photographer. Hence the title. The book isn't called "Go Do Exactly What I Did at Pere Lachaise," or "Here's a Map, Have at It Buddy." It's an experience shared, a walk along just one pathway trod by two people who obviously had life-changing experiences getting lost together in the famous cemetery. It says as much in the book's Foreword: "Feel free to make your own way, and even enjoy getting lost there." A trip through Pere Lachaise is a trip back in time, but just like going forward in time, the steps are my own to take, the experiences my own to interpret.

And so, with that in mind, the book is an incredibly rare gem: A knowledgeable collection of terse but robust facts about the amazing residents of Pere Lachaise, organized to be suitable for a tour, yet seasoned with inimitable personal anecdotes that briefly alight like a Psyche butterfly. It's a brief dance of two living souls among thousands that have passed. In other words, life.

To wit: the Paris landlady of Eriksson and Bendewald whose uncle was the culprit who stole Maria Callas' ashes. Or the author hearing the growling otherworldly intonations of Jim Morrison while paying respects at his oft-defiled grave. Or the photographer paying homage first by kneeling at the foot of the monument to slain young journalist Victor Noir, and then again by leaving his corroded copper monument as one of the only subjects in the entire book printed in color.

These are not the sterile monologues of a paid docent or the rote recitations of a bored tour guide. These are not stock photographs taken by sanctioned lenses.
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