From Publishers Weekly
This audiobook version of Graham Robb's volume of strange-but-true Parisian narratives offers listeners a fascinating history that is frequently encumbered by heavy-handed, often overblown narration from Simon Vance. Robb offers a series of bizarre tales that touch on everything from the first sexual experience of Napoleon Bonaparte to the creation of the Catacombes de Paris, but Vance narrates as if all of Parisian history is weighing on him: his reading is too grand, overly inflated, and pompous, his French accent frequently fails to ring true, and it simply sounds as if he is trying too hard to narrate what should have been an intriguing and charming audiobook. A Norton hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 1).
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There is nothing traditional about Graham Robb's approach to history, and Parisians
, like his previous works, reflects his exceptional creativity and wonderful writing. Robb introduces each personality as a mystery for readers to unravel, all the while evoking the sights and sounds of Paris. Although he narrates many of the sections from his characters' perspectives, he also presents each in different form; the tale of the student revolt, for example, takes the shape of a course outline, and the encounter between Sartre and Miles Davis is a screenplay set in a café. The only complaint? A plethora of detail. Yet, as a mosaic of a city, it is an embarrassment of riches, indeed.
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