Paris Was Ours: Thirty-two Writers Reflect on the City of Light

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Algonquin Books, Feb 8, 2011 - Travel - 288 pages
6 Reviews
Paris is “the world capital of memory and desire,” concludes one of the writers in this intimate and insightful collection of memoirs of the city. Living in Paris changed these writers forever.

In thirty-two personal essays—more than half of which are here published for the first time—the writers describe how they were seduced by Paris and then began to see things differently. They came to write, to cook, to find love, to study, to raise children, to escape, or to live the way it’s done in French movies; they came from the United States, Canada, and England; from Iran, Iraq, and Cuba; and—a few—from other parts of France. And they stayed, not as tourists, but for a long time; some are still living there. They were outsiders who became insiders, who here share their observations and revelations. Some are well-known writers: Diane Johnson, David Sedaris, Judith Thurman, Joe Queenan, and Edmund White. Others may be lesser known but are no less passionate on the subject.

Together, their reflections add up to an unusually perceptive and multifaceted portrait of a city that is entrancing, at times exasperating, but always fascinating. They remind us that Paris belongs to everyone it has touched, and to each in a different way.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - etxgardener - LibraryThing

I'm a sucker for books about Paris & this collection of essys by people who have lived in Paris did not disappoint. This is a book that can be read straight through, or dipped into as the mood strikes ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - voracious - LibraryThing

After reading 32 writers describe their time spent in Paris, it is much easier to see how challenging it can be for Americans to live in the French culture. I have never been to Paris, but I've become ... Read full review

Contents

LArgent Is No Object
1
Learning French Ways
11
Becoming a Parisian
19
Love without Reason
26
Keep Your Distance
38
Friends of My Youth
43
Fledgling Days
56
The Tapeworm Is In
69
Out of the Revolution
138
My Literary Paris
154
The Tribulations of a Cuban Girl in Paris
163
Montparnasse and Beyond
178
Guillaume à Paris
183
Ma Vie Bohème
193
A Mild Hell
203
The Sky Is Metallic
209

My Bookstore High
72
Chantals Gift
82
My Day with Mr D
89
Parenting FrenchStyle
92
Deal With It
98
Two Paris Poems
105
Understanding Chic
108
Its My Home Thats All
117
Just Another American
123
Toward a Politics of Quality of Life
131
In Franklins Footsteps
217
Litost
227
La Bourdonneuse
239
Paris Is Gone All Gone
244
Enfin
252
Le Départ
259
Contributors
271
Credits and Permissions
277
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

PENELOPE ROWLANDS has written about culture and the arts for Architectural Digest, the Daily Beast, Vogue, WSJ. Magazine, and other publications. Her books include the anthology Paris Was Ours and A Dash of Daring: Carmel Snow and Her Life in Fashion, Art, and Letters, a biography of the legendary editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar. Find her at www.peneloperowlands.com.

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