Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Flaneur: A Stroll through the Paradoxes of Paris, Edmund White

Paris is a big city, in the sense that London and New York are big cities and that Rome is a village, Los Angeles a collection of villages and Zurich a backwater. 

Heh heh. I get what White means about Los Angeles being a collection of villages; a lot of West Coast cities (like Seattle) seem to be structured that way and you have to drive from "village" to "village." In any case, this was an amazing book.

From the jacket: A flaneur is a stroller, a loiterer, someone who ambles through city streets in search of adventure and fulfillment. Edmund White, who lived in Paris for 16 years, embraces this sobriquet and wanders through the streets and avenues, along the quays, and into parts of Paris virtually unknown to visitors and indeed to many Parisians. In the company of the learned White, a walk through Paris is both a tour of its lush, sometimes prurient, history and an evocation of the city's spirit. The Flaneur leads us to bookshops and boutiques, monuments and palaces, giving us a glimpse into their inner human drama. Along the way we learn everything from the latest debates among French lawmakers to the juicy details of Colette's life. 

White manages to evoke the flaneur in his writing style very well; he wanders from subject to subject as a flaneur might wander from street to street. He had interesting facts to impart about the history of Paris. I quite enjoyed reading this book, especially as I'm interested in the concept of the flaneur. I really loved a lot of the narratives that White imparted to the reader.

Read The Flaneur:

  • if you like travel/history books
  • if you are interested in Paris or France in general
  • if you are interested in the concept of the flaneur
193 pages.

Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf For Rereading (jf I own it)!

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