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In 1995 Gopnik was offered the plush assignment of writing the "Paris Journals" for the New Yorker. He spent five years in Paris with his wife, Martha, and son, Luke, writing dispatches now collected here along with previously unpublished journal entries. A self-described "comic-sentimental essayist," Gopnik chose the romance of Paris in its particulars as his subject. Gopnik falls in unabashed love with what he calls Paris's commonplace civilization--the cafés, the little shops, the ancient carousel in the park, and the small, intricate experiences that happen in such settings. But Paris can also be a difficult city to love, particularly its pompous and abstract official culture with its parallel paper universe. The tension between these two sides of Paris and the country's general brooding over the decline of French dominance in the face of globalization (haute couture, cooking, and sex, as well as the economy, are running deficits) form the subtexts for these finely wrought and witty essays. With his emphasis on the micro in the macro, Gopnik describes trying to get a Thanksgiving turkey delivered during a general strike and his struggle to find an apartment during a government scandal over favoritism in housing allocations. The essays alternate between reports of national and local events and accounts of expatriate family life, with an emphasis on "the trinity of late-century bourgeois obsessions: children and cooking and spectator sports, including the spectator sport of shopping." Gopnik describes some truly delicious moments, from the rites of Parisian haute couture, to the "occupation" of a local brasserie in protest of its purchase by a restaurant tycoon, to the birth of his daughter with the aid of a doctor in black jeans and a black silk shirt, open at the front. Gopnik makes terrific use of his status as an observer on the fringes of fashionable society to draw some deft comparisons between Paris and New York ("It is as if all American appliances dreamed of being cars while all French appliances dreamed of being telephones") and do some incisive philosophizing on the nature of both. This is masterful reportage with a winning infusion of intelligence, intimacy, and charm. --Lesley Reed --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
With his wife and infant son, New Yorker writer Gopnik finds an apartment and settles into the City of Light as a foreign correspondent. Setting aside its frustratingly tangled bureaucracy, he embraces Paris unconditionally. Nuances and subtleties like the fact that their Christmas-tree lights come in loops rather than strands are his delight, and he bring listeners such wonderful observations as, "In America all appliances want to be cars, in Paris they all want to be telephones." The author's observations are as much about the art of raising a family in Paris as they are about the city itself: we witness, for instance, the birth of his daughter in a French hospital by a doctor in a black silk shirt unbuttoned to the navel. Gopnik's reading is wry and bittersweet with an acerbic and witty delivery reminiscent of David Sedaris's. Listeners will feel as though they've been transported to a Parisian bistro and are sitting with Gopnik over cups of caf au lait. Based on the Random hardcover (Forecasts, Sept. 25, 2000).
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Editorial Reviews
I love reading books that tell me a story in a chapter. This is my second year vacationing in Paris and it is books like this that make that time delightful. Read morePublished 12 days ago by J. Hassler
Delightful and delicious. That it was written pre-9/11/01 makes it just that more interesting. More interesting times.Published 2 months ago by Mary Margaret Breed
Having lived in Paris for eight years myself someone else's experience is bound to feel lukewarm. Still, it's a nice book and I will read in when hit by bouts of homesickness for... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lamppu
For Gropnik, there are two ways of doing everything: the correct (i.e. American) way, and the quaint and amusing French way. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Gerard P.
Gopnik's style and tone, especially with the help of his editors at The New Yorker, are irresistible. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Magnus Eisengrim
To be fair, it was written about the author's experiences as an expat in the 1990s, a decade much more pretentious in general than today. Read morePublished 7 months ago by onanisland
A delightful book; I've read it twice now and find enjoyment on every page. Any parent would like it.Published 8 months ago by angela wheeler