From the book-collecting author of A Pound of Paper, a personal anecdotal guide to Paris illuminating its recent erotic Bohemian past.
John Baxter is an acclaimed film critic and biographer. His subjects have included Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick and Robert De Niro. He is the author of A Pound of Paper: Confessions of a Book Addict, also published by Bantam Books. He lives in Paris.
Perhaps no city has been more lustfully romanticized than Paris, and this cavorting collection of bons mots will do nothing to quell its erotic reputation. Baxter (A Pound of Paper), a cineast and biographer (of Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg and others), is an Australian in love with a French woman. After moving into her Parisian apartment in 1990, he subsequently becomes her baby's father, her husband and eventually, in his own way, French. He loosely arranges his narrative in themed chapters, lobbing little-known facts, references to favorite films, and gossip about the inglorious past of certain addresses into stories about the affairs of the heart of famous Parisians and expats. He peppers tales of his quotidian life with bemused observations of Gallic quirks and offhanded recommendations of tucked-away shops and obscure cafes, resulting in a book that is part guidebook, part memoir. Some chapters are bawdy and some hilarious, such as "Invaders," about uncouth, ingrate houseguests. Anyone who appreciates Paris and its myths, likes the meandering storytelling of good conversation and enjoys the mildly salacious will relish reading this book, curled up with a glass of full-bodied red and a box of chocolates. Photos. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Baxter (A Pound of Paper: Confessions of a Book Addict), a film historian, biographer, and journalist living as an expatriate in Paris, wends his way between autobiographical insights of life abroad and the gossipy goings-on of a Paris that never was and always will be, blending together fact and fiction to reveal the interesting stories that have crisscrossed the French capital over the years. The entertainment factor reaches its high as the author digs up dirt on Paris's seedier side. He produces long lists of historical whorehouses (les maisons closes), partouze clubs, bondage shows, and gay bars to create a romantic ideal of a city that dared to be different. Whether revealing the surrealist movement's penchant for porn, His Majesty Edward VII's champagne fetishes, or the clandestine chapels dedicated to repentant pimps and prostitutes, Baxter's insights keep the pages turning. The book's only weakness is its lack of continuity. As he spins his yarns, Baxter fails to weave together this clever collection of decadent details with his own personal experiences, so that a book of fantastic parts does not in the end form a satisfying whole. For more extensive travel collections.-Matthew Loving, Texas A&M International Univ. Lib., Laredo Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.