Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Five Nights in Paris After Dark in The City of Light by John Baxter (2015)

My Posts for Paris in July 2016 hosted by Thyme for Tea

1.  The Dogs and the Wolves by Iréne Nemirovsky.  About a Jewish family that moves from the Ukraine to Paris.

2.  Mavis Gallant.  Two Parisian Works, a short story and a Paris Note book segment

John Baxter, a prolific writer of works about the glories of Paris and a well known walking tour guide, has something in common with Iréne Nemirovsky and Mavis Gallant.  Like them he was not born in France, he is an Australian , but has made Paris by choice his permanent home.  

Five Nights in Paris by John Baxter is presented as suggestions for the night time activities of tourists visting Paris for the first time on a quick five day visit.  The premiss of the book is that visitors during the day will be doing the standard tourist activities and will need guidance for night time activities.   Of course tourists want something to do at night so Baxter began to offer night walking tours.  Five Nights in Paris arose  out of his tours.  

Baxter, as one would as tour guide, makes use of a lot of antedotes about the foibles of famous deceased Parisians.  There is a bit of a mocking tone at times when Baxter talks about clients with no real knowledge of Parisian based culture.

One of the things nights in Paris brings to mind is the glory of French food.  Baxter gives us a good look at a meal in one of the most expensive of restaurants of the city, where lunch is at a minimum $200.00.  I really like it more when he talked about the pleasure of inexpensive French eating.  

Baxter goes into a good bit of detail about the sex trade in Paris, past and present.  

Baxter gives us a few literary stories about expat writers in Paris. 

I was kindly given a review copy of this book.  As I read on in the book I wondered who I would suggest buy it.  It is not a guide book, the literary material is surface stuff meant for people who can acknowledge having heard of Victor Hugo with a knowing nod so it is not literary history.  The material on food is interesting but there are dedicated food books.  

I enjoyed reading this book but I cannot really endorse this book for buyers I do not know.  Those very into French culture will already know what Baxter talks upon.  Much of the book is taken up with Baxter's personal life.  

Mel u

1 comment:

Louise said...

John Baxter is actually Australian, although he has lived in several countries. I've read a couple of his books- The Most Beautiful Walk in the World and A Paris Christmas. They all seem to be part memoir, part tourist guide, part food guide. I just found two copies of Five Nights in Paris on my shelves a few days ago! I do tend to buy his book when I see them at the shops. I haven't read Five Nights yet, but I do enjoy his style. I saw him speak a few years ago at the Sydney Writers Festival- a rather disappointing session meant to be about his book Paris at the End of the World (which I've half read actually).

Popping by from Paris in July.