Synopses & Reviews
What happens when one of our most celebrated writers combines talents with a French artist and architect to capture life in their Parisian neighborhood? The result is a lighthearted, gently satiric portrait of the heart of Paris -- including the Marais, Les Halles, the two islands in the Seine, and the Châtelet -- and the people who call it home. It is an enchantingly varied world, populated not only by dazzling literati and ultrachic couturiers and art dealers but also by poetic shopkeepers, grandmotherly prostitutes, and, ever underfoot, an irrepressible basset hound named Fred. The foibles and eccentricities of these sometimes outrageous, always memorable individuals are brought to life with unfailing wit and affection.
Below the surface of the sparkling humor in Our Paris, there is a tragic undercurrent. While Hubert Sorin was completing this work, he was nearing the end of his struggle with AIDS. The book is a tribute to the loving spirit with which the authors banished somberness and celebrated the pleasures of their life together.
"'So many of my friends with AIDS,' the author begins, 'have wanted to write a book or make some other kind of work of art to celebrate or at least to mark their passage on earth and in time.' Yet, while White is still living, his lover and illustrator, Hubert Sorin, is not. This amusing and satiric memoir, then, is their final celebration of life and friendship. It tells of their adventures and acquaintances, high-brow and low, in the idiosyncratic core of Paris. White's prose is a whirlwind of anecdotes, haphazardly jumping from aging prostitutes and benign beggars, to literary priests and flashy couturiers. And
while the writing does tend to wallow on occasion in a bog of name-dropping and private reflection, White's sketches of Parisian life are clever and endearing. Whimiscal and melancholic at the same time,Our Paris is a one-of-a-kind glimpse at an inexhaustable city." Reviewed by Andrew Witmer, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
“Blending the past and the present, with pungent asides into peoples character, Whites writing has never been finer.” Publishers Weekly
“White walks you through the streets of Paris better than any guidebook written.” Denver Post
“A valentine to a city most of us can only visit.” New York Times Book Review
“Delightful.” Kirkus Reviews
“Very French, very silly, very witty drawings … [and] superb, gracious, pristine, sweet descriptions.” Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“One is left feeling only happy…generous and expansive…, and exuberant that life can hold so much humor and coincidence.” Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times Book Review
A witty, delightfully illustrated tour of Paris as it has never been seen before. White's love for his Parisian neighborhood seeps through every line of "Our Paris" as he brings life to the foibles and eccentricities of the town. Illustrations.
About the Author
Edmund White is the author of the novels Fanny: A Fiction
, A Boy's Own Story
, The Farewell Symphony
, and The Married Man
; a biography of Jean Genet; a study of Marcel Proust; and, most recently, a memoir, My Lives
. Having lived in Paris for many years, he has now settled in New York, and he teaches at Princeton University.
Hubert Sorin was an architect and illustrator. After teaching architecture for two years in Ethiopia, he returned to Paris to work for Jean-Jacques Ory, who directed at that time the largest architectural office in France. After retiring at the end of 1989, Sorin became an illustrator, contributing drawings and text for a privately printed book, Mémoires dessinées. He died in March 1994 and is buried in Paris at Père-Lachaise.