Sunday, July 1, 2012
Reading Adam Gopnik's Enjoyable Love and Hate Parisian Memoirs
I've been reading, really I have! However, much of 2012 so far found me starting new books, putting them down, starting other books. I just couldn't commit! I needed real hard literary counseling! But July is here, and I feel I am on the road to recovery. Here's one of the 3 books I started and finished recently, much to my delight considering all the three are NOT my usual type!
The book in question here is American writer Adam Gopnik’s Paris to the Moon. If we are to believe everything he says, Adam seems to have suffered the great calamity of living in Paris for five long years while writing "The Paris Journals" for the New Yorker magazine. My heart goes out to him, the poor man.
Paris to the Moon is a compilation of wry essays that describe his misfortunes, along with previously unpublished journal entries which are equally sarcastic in style and tone. Gopnik seems to love Paris but he discusses and dissects French life and culture like no other - with plenty of self-deprecating wit, and he is perhaps at his best when describing the many differences between his Parisian existence and the good life he left behind in New York City.
Everyday life in the French capital seems to have been troublesome. Gopnik faces minor inconveniences, like trying to purchase a Thanksgiving turkey during a general strike and figuring out the inexplicable construction of French Christmas tree lights, as well as more knotty troubles, like how to get a taxi when his wife is in labor (French taxi drivers it seems are reluctant to offer rides to very pregnant women but I disagree). Along with his wife, Gopnik's young son Luke came along for the adventure, and his impressions and preferences, including a taste for imported Barney tapes and his special soft spot for a female Parisian classmate, add an engaging allure to this thoroughly pleasant book. Though dated by over 12 years, read this bestseller if you want to see a distinctly different perspective of Paris that you may perhaps never read in any travel book.