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Paris: A Love Story Hardcover – August 14, 2012

3.3 out of 5 stars 236 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Kati Marton is a writer of great clarity and grace. Paris: A Love Story is a revealing memoir about the contours of her own humanity, rendered with precision and honesty. It is a memorable story of love, loss and landscape that is as expansive as her remarkable life." —Steve Coll, author of Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power

“A great read—the lightness of love, the drama of war and sudden death—with Paris in the background.” —Diane von Furstenberg

“Like the others—Didion, Joyce Carol Oates, and Abigail Thomas, to name a few—Marton defies the conventional wisdom that good writing is Wordsworthian emotion recollected in tranquility; she seems to be writing the story as it is happening. The book, short and intimate, reads like the wind from the urgency of the opening scene. ... Great writing is often about yearning, yearning for a lost place, a lost love, or just a lost moment in time. Marton knows a lot about longing for the past. ... This book feels like her way of keeping Richard Holbrooke alive if only on the page. It works.” —Susan Cheever, Newsweek/The Daily Beast

“Kati Marton has written movingly about her love, loss, and the healing power of an elegant city. She takes readers on a journey, as she writes, to find a place where there is joy in remembered joy.” —Diane Sawyer

“I stayed up last night and read this book cover to cover. I can’t remember the last time I did that. It is wonderful—touching, romantic and honest—and oh, how it made me want to go to Paris!” —Barbara Walters

“Marton offers an intimate look at her adventurous life in a book that is part romance, part travelogue, and part memoir of journalism and diplomacy.” —Booklist

“Paris provides a backdrop for this absorbing memoir of love and painful loss, played out on the larger stage of world politics….On a first-name basis with the political movers and shakers on a global stage, Marton has observed world politics in the making and makes space for readers on her catbird seat.” —Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Kati Marton is the author of True Believer: Stalin's American Spy; Enemies of the People: My Family’s Journey to America, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist; The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World; Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages That Shaped Our History; Wallenberg; The Polk Conspiracy; and A Death in Jerusalem. She is an award-winning former NPR and ABC News correspondent. She lives in New York City.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (August 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451691548
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451691542
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (236 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #336,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an enjoyable summer read, but I had very definite deja vu to 40 years ago and reading the autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini in college. Both Cellini and Marton are engaging writers, but their almost psychopathic egotism makes for an interesting, if at times, exasperating experience. One of the reasons famous people's biographies are more interesting is because most of us are curious to see behind the curtains of the rich and powerful. For instance, Bill Clinton, versus the neighbor who lives across the street, visits Marton the morning after her third husband dies. However, we never really get a sense of the multitude of celebrities that parade through this book, since generally they are presented as one dimensional figures whose role is to reflect Marton's splendor. The book might have been subtitled "famous people who had the pleasure of meeting me." They fall into good (those who fawn over Marton) and bad (those who express any hesitancy) I must say I never felt as positive about Nancy Reagan as when reading about her cautiousness in allowing herself to be interviewed by Marton.
There is even a rather bizarre section where Marton simply posts a number of positive Thank you notes from famous people to her and her husband for their hospitality while he was UN ambassador. They read like your basic BS like pleasantries one puts in a thank you note, but she seems to take them literally. She hints at some deep dark side to her divorced husband Peter jennings, but the only tangible complaint is that he finds her self centered and ambitious, and one can see where he is coming from. Perhaps the strangest part of this memoir, is that it is filled with so many famous people, and yet so devoid of any actual friends. Through all her tribulations, not one close female friend ever appears.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Does this woman love herself, or what? Her poor husbands! She cheated on Peter and Richard and felt obligated to let them know--what an incredibly self-absorbed woman. She shouldn't have anything nasty to say about Pamela Harriman---she seems to be a PH wannabe. I'm sure she'll be married again shortly. Well, not too much in the book about her love for Paris, but lots about her love for herself. As I said, the title is misleading.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I saw Kati Marton on tv last week talking about this book. Hindsight being what it is, I probably should have gone with my gut when I wasn't very impressed with her in the interview. But, the book sounded interesting, so I bought it that day.

From almost the very beginning, I knew I wouldn't like the author or the book. Yet I kept reading. It got to the point where I didn't think I could dislike her any more, and then she said or did something to prove me wrong. I've never in my life encountered someone so self-absorbed. Of course, this book is just a snapshot of who she is, so I'm sure there are some redeeming qualities, but I just don't understand why none of them were shown in this book.

There were also mistakes in the book; there was one picture where she noted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in February 2001 (pretty sure she meant 2011) and then twice she mentioned having a brother, but he was nowhere else in the story; in fact, she referred to "the four of them" (her mother, father, sister and herself).

For someone who has written as much as she has and been a journalist her whole life, I was expecting more. Her style was very odd; seemingly HUGE events in her life - "ten years into our marriage I fell in love with another man" - are presented just like that and then nothing else is said about it. She would end chapters with just random sentences; chronology didn't seem to matter at all.

I would never recommend this book to anyone. I'm sorry for the losses that Kati Marton suffered, but many, many others have been through the same thing... without cheating on two husbands along the way. Also? No mention of Richard's sons in the acknowledgements at the end? Interesting.
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Format: Kindle Edition
While I respect Ms. Marton's pain at the untimely death of her husband (who, it appeared, loved her very much), I have to say, this book was pretty dull. It was almost as if she went through the pages of a diary/datebook and just jotted down extraneous events.

At its base, Ms. Marton does not have much of an ear for dialogue, or for describing a noteworthy person or scene. At one point, she is reduced to sharing thank you notes that famous people sent her after dinner parties. People like Bill Clinton, Clark Clifford, Ted and Vicki Kennedy, Pamela Harriman all pass through her pages, but they are all described with about as much enthusiasm as the milkman. At first, I thought that perhaps this was because she came from television, and not used to writing descriptive, evocative passages? But who knows.

Also -- for those who say she went through a "tumultuous" divorce from her second husband, Peter Jennings, to my reading, it seems as if she and Dick Holbrooke went away for a romantic weekend about a month (or less?) after she separated from Jennings and then he was part of her life full force... they were together (very much so) right away, and then they got married. So it was not as if she was ever a struggling single mom with two kids to raise by herself not knowing what to do with her life. It sort of seems as if she went from one man to the next with no downtime.

Oh, and then she had an affair with some Hungarian guy about 10 years into her marriage with Holbrooke, but he asked her to end it, and she did. (But even that did not sound very exciting.)

I was really looking forward to this book. Read it from cover to cover in about two hours (if that). Holbrooke and Jennings led very interesting lives (as did she by extension, I suppose), but this book does not convey any of it. And as other reviewers have commented on, she does seem very keen on herself.
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