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Paris Cafe: The Select Crowd [Kindle Edition]

Noel Riley Fitch , Rick Tulka
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $17.95 What's this?
Print List Price: $17.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Book Description

Acclaimed author Noël Riley Fitch, abetted by noted artist Rick Tulka, serves the dish on Select, the famous Montparnasse café that for nearly nine decades has been so vital to Paris and its intellectual denizens: from Hemingway, Beauvoir, Picasso, James Baldwin, and George Plimpton to the writers and artists who continue to work quietly there in the back room or heatedly debate every topic imaginable into the night. The artists have their work on the walls; the novelists include the café setting in their fiction. The quiet and drama of the Sélect world illustrates the centrality of cafés — particularly this one — to Parisian social, cultural, and intellectual life. Blending pithy profiles and witty drawings of clientele and staff, the book is organized around a history of the café, its daily and seasonal rhythms, particular colorful patrons, and even its typical café/brasserie food (including a few recipes).

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A tribute so pleasant and persuasive that swarming tourists may make it difficult for Fitch and Tulka to find a table." -- Kirkus

In this droll, delicious little volume,Fitch and Tulka provide an affectionate portrait of the Select Cafe, one of those famous Paris eateries that have served as candles to intellectual moths--French, American, and otherwise--for nearly a century. As Fitch reels off anecdotes about those who spent time writing, chatting, caffeinating, and dreaming in the Montparnasse spot, the book reads like a Who's Who of twentieth-century arts circles with cameo appearances by Hemingway, Bunuel, Brassaï, Giacometti, Beckett, Picasso, Noguchi, de Beauvoir, Satie, Poulenc, Baldwin, and Godard. The text, by the author of several books on American expatriates in Paris, is slender and sketchy, but that leaves more room for Tulka's marvelous line drawings, which capture the essences not only of the café's celebrity patrons but also its proprietors and waiters, along with numerous guests whose names are not known, but who are blithely immortalized. -- Booklist

Product Details

  • File Size: 4780 KB
  • Print Length: 122 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press (November 28, 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002PY7IGI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #992,362 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars elegant drawings January 6, 2008
Format:Paperback
Worth buying for the elegant b/w drawings alone. Tulka's caricatures magnificently capture the essence of every individual depicted... as you look at each page you feel that you are actually sitting with him observing the staff and patrons. A great book for artists, people-watchers and Francophiles.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gem of a book about a famous café December 29, 2007
Format:Paperback
This book is a treat for anyone interested in Parisian café life. Noel Riley Fitch presents a history of Le Select, one of Paris' most famous brasseries and situated on Bvd Montparnasse. Added to this are Rick Tulka's superb caricatures of the staff and the customers who frequent Le Select. Highly recommended for any Anglophones who live in or are thinking of visiting France.
Francophones, don't worry. I believe that there is a good possibility that a French edition is in the pipeline.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inviting, real-life look at a legendary place May 8, 2008
Format:Paperback
Author of a number of histories of literary Paris, as well as a study of Europe's "literary cafés," Noël Riley Fitch now does the trend of Americans writing about their favorite Parisian neighborhood one better by giving us a warm and charming portrait of her favorite Parisian café, Montparnasse's Le Sélect. Accompanied by wonderful illustrations (or, as the cover says, just "drawings") by Rick Tulka, this short book is an experience to savor, much like a trip to the café itself would be.

I've read a number of books over the last few months about Paris cafés, as my vicarious substitute for actually being in one. There's a great variety of such books, all trying in their own way to capture some of the ineffable (and perhaps exaggerated?) romantic charm of Parisian café-dom. Some are glossy photo albums, portraying cafés, brasseries, and restaurants in all their visual diversity. Others focus on the history of various cafés and their neighborhoods, while still others give us recipes designed to recreate café flavors and smells in our own homes. But "Paris Café: The Sélect Crowd" is the first such book I've seen that really takes a close, personal look at an author's own chosen café (in this case, one she shares with her illustrator). I found it a remarkably successful effort, and I feel like were I to visit Le Sélect someday, it wouldn't feel entirely foreign to me.

If I could improve anything, I might wish for more discussion of the people depicted in Tulka's evocative portraits, though there may not have been a way to do that while still respecting their privacy -- Le Sélect is, after all, a neighborhood institution.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
When I learned my cousin had illustrated a book written on a Paris Cafe, Le Select, I thought, "How nice. I'll have to get a couple copies to take with me so I can get his autograph!" I really didn't intend, necessarily, to read it...
Well I got the book and started flipping through and then was just lured right in and read the whole thing in a rather brief period and enjoyed every minute! What a pleasant and illuminating book! And the illustrations are out of this world! To be expected from this seasoned MAD caricaturist.
Whether or not you are going to Paris, this is a must read if you, not only love Paris and, but also want to get a true understanding of the significance of the Paris Cafe!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pull up a chair to a Select Cafe table in Paris.. March 31, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The moment you open PARIS CAFES, you're transported to one of the most prestigious and traditional cafes in all Paris. Le Select is unchanged and unadulterated, still serving the same food by the same waiters and run by the same owner.
Turning the pages generates that special "je ne sait quoi" ambience that we all think of as Paris.
And Rick Tulka's drawings capture the subtle Parisien look, the Parisien style and humor impossible to experience in any other city in the world. Cafes exist everywhere, but none of them feels quite like sitting in a cafe in Paris. That's the special fun of reading PARIS CAFES.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cafe All the Way January 18, 2008
Format:Paperback
Fitch's etched words and Tulka's loving illustrations provide a no-hassle jet to Paris and one of its treasures. This is an account to be sipped, savored and saved. Le Select's bracing aroma and eye-pleasing sights permeate every page of the francophiles' extended love letter.

Those who've roosted there over a cup of coffee or tingled after a wine will re-experience their warm pleasure; those who've yet to make it to Le Select will find a delicious foretaste of Paris at its best.

A votre sante!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A week-end in Paris! January 28, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you need to get away to Paris for the week-end but can’t afford the fare, this little book will suffice nicely!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Book that's Wonderful in Every Way. September 18, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A really interested, and true, history of a famous cafe in Paris France. It's accompanied by Rick Tulka's witty and wonderful drawings. The combination makes for a most pleasant literary and visual experience.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A special place
A wonderful fun read about a very special place in Paris. Great drawings of the characters make the book come alive. I have read many books about Paris. Read more
Published 10 months ago by P. Lenny
5.0 out of 5 stars The Select Has Soul
Having visited Paris for two weeks every year for the past ten, I love the cafes above all else. We have our favorites but the Select is a mandatory visit this year because of... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Joanne W. Iverson
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book for every Francophile you know!
Rick Tulka is a brilliant illustrator who has given all us Francophiles the perfect entree to the most revered Paris institution: the neighborhood cafe. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Real Thing
4.0 out of 5 stars great weekend read
I enjoyed reading Paris Cafe, The Select Crowd very much. It was like taking a trip to Paris and sitting in a cafe people watching. Read more
Published on March 30, 2011 by Sophia Marie
5.0 out of 5 stars A charming introduction to a Parisian institution: Le Select Cafe
What a treat you'll find this book to be! Sit back and relax as you're introduced to a delightful cast of characters who wander in and out of the famous Le Select café in... Read more
Published on April 11, 2009 by Suzanne M. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book!
This small, artfully produced book is wonderful as well as charming. The characters who appear within are memorable. They range from hysterically funny to amusing to insightful. Read more
Published on March 22, 2009 by Jon M. Riley
4.0 out of 5 stars Paris-le Select
From its opening in 1925 when sex, drugs, alcohol and art defined Les Années Folles Le Sélect was a favorite of Hemingway, Kiki, Foujita, Hart Crane, Henry Miller and... Read more
Published on November 7, 2008 by Terrance Gelenter
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