Memoirs of Montparnasse
In 1928, the nineteen-year-old John Glassco escaped an overbearing father and the dreariness of North American university life for the wilder shores of Montparnasse, the haunt of geniuses from Modigliani and Brancusi to Hemingway and Man Ray, not to mention a legendarily limitless source of sex and booze. He remained there for more than a year, until his money ran out and his health failed, in the course of which he ran into everyone who was anyone and had the time of his life. Sex and parties fill Glassco's memoirs of that period, but the truly extraordinary thing about this book is its honesty, humor, and perfect youthfulness of spirit. Page follows page with the daft logic of an unpredictable but utterly absorbing adventure, leading from bedroom to barroom to beach and on, and such is the easy, confident charm of Glassco's prose that the reader is unfailingly surprised and delighted. In the end, MEMOIRS OF MONTARNASSE is less a tale of a particular time and place than it is a delightful hymn to a life of abandon in a never-never land of effortlessly fulfilled desire.