I was very happy to see Thyme for Tea's post announcing that she be hosting once again an event devoted to all things related to Paris, Paris in July # 6. This will be my fourth year as a participant. You can participate in a lot of ways besides posting on literature related to Paris. Pretty much anything tied into Paris is very welcome. Her webpage has lots of suggestions.
In the time since Paris in July # 5 I have read a bit of French literature. I read through Emile Zola's largely set in Paris Rougon-Macquart Cycle, Proust's In Search of Lost Time, and currently am working my way through Honore de Balzac's, the Emperor of Parisian writers, The Comedie Humaine. I am now at work 68 of 91 components.
I recently acquired Irène Némirovsky's highly regarded novel about Paris under the Gernans, Suite Francise and Lydia Davis' translation of Swann's Way and hope to read them both in July. I was also recently given a review copy of a new collection of short stories by Guy de Maupassant and will look it over.
Mavis Gallant was born in Toronto in 1922 but in her heart she was a Parisian. She settled there in 1960 and lived there for the next year fifty two years. Many of her short stories are set in Paris. To me her work has a deeply cultured old world feel.
I was last year given a collection of her short stories, In the Fifteenth District and was happy to see most of the stories have at least a Paris connection.
"Baum, Gabriel, 1935 ( ) is set in Paris, centering on Jewish man who survived the Nazi occupation even though most he knew did not. The story covers around twenty five years of his life. He lives partially from a pension for Holocaust survivors and his spotty work as a TV actor. He has one surviving relative, an older uncle who escaped just before the occupation to Argentina. The man never married. Much of his social life centers on a cafe where a lot of TV actors hang out. His uncle comes for a visit but they never quite bond. The uncle returns to Argentina and they maintain a correspondence for a while. The story is very subdued and subtle, no great emotions on the surface and no shocking events. We see Paris change over the years as more and more Foreigners move in the city. Paris is very much a part off this this story.
I hope a lot of people will participate in Paris in July # 6. It is the kind of event that makes the international book blog community such a great part of the Internet.