Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Gluck, another awful French book

"Paris was ours", a collection of 32 essays from people who have spent a bit of time in Paris, apparently in the pursuit of cliché. http://www.amazon.com/Paris-Was-Ours-Penelope-Rowlands/dp/1565129539/ref=sr_1_79?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1297163360&sr=1-79
I should note that I have not actually read this book, but the Amazon review suffices, I think.

The first (or perhaps not the first, but hey) thing one notices is that it is produced in a paperback 'Deckle Edge' edition. How exciting, what could that be? Turns out 'Deckle Edge' is 'A book with uneven page edges cut to resemble handmade papers.' Well, that may be your first clue that this book has been produced for morons.

But of course it's in the essays that the book really shines. We learn that 'Stacy Schiff finds that picking up the dry cleaning was less of a chore when done on ground Ben Franklin and John Adams trod before her'. If only I could sustain myself while accomplishing mundane tasks with thoughts of which famous Americans might have been hanging around my drycleaners'too. Then we have Janine di Giovanni, who 'saw French mothers hit their children to enforce good manners' - is this supposed to be a particularly French trait? French chic tip - beat your children! Perhaps the French don't mind hitting kids because of their Nazi-loving past : 'Alicia Drake muses on the disconcerting ability of the French to accept human faults as she visits sites from which the Nazis, aided by French police, deported Jews to their deaths'. I'm not quite sure if Alicia Drake is calling the Holocaust 'a human fault' there, if so, she almost makes the Nazis seem merely careless. But my favourite is Diane Johnson's esssay, who in the process of 'evaluating French stereotypes', 'was surprised that French hostesses serve store-bought entrees'. Sacré bleu, someone call les flics!

3 comments:

  1. Hee hee ...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Never mind les flics - send for Cliff Richard.

    ReplyDelete

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