Memoirs of Montparnasse

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New York Review of Books, May 15, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 236 pages
44 Reviews
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.

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Review: Memoirs of Montparnasse

User Review  - Eileen - Goodreads

The memoirs of Canadian novelist and poet John Glassco, blissfully adrift at eighteen in 1920's Paris. From the introduction: "How seriously anyone took his literary pursuits is uncertain, but surely ... Read full review

Review: Memoirs of Montparnasse

User Review  - Dana Gynther - Goodreads

Charming. Read full review

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About the author (2007)

John Glassco (1909-1981) was born in Montreal and attended McGill, but moved to Paris before attaining his degree. Glassco won the Governor General’s Award in 1971 for his Selected Poems.

Louis Begley lives in New York City. His previous novels are Wartime Lies, The Man Who Was Late, As Max Saw It, About Schimdt, Mistler’s Exit, Schmidt Delivered, and Shipwreck.

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