Synopses & Reviews
This is the Paris you never knew. From the Revolution to the present, Graham Robb has distilled a series of astonishing true narratives, all stranger than fiction.
A young artillery lieutenant, strolling through the Palais-Royal, observes disapprovingly the courtesans plying their trade. A particular woman catches his eye; nature takes its course. Later that night, Napoleon Bonaparte writes a meticulous account of his first sexual encounter.
An aristocratic woman, fleeing the Louvre, takes a wrong turn and loses her way in the nameless streets of the Left Bank. For want of a map—there were no reliable ones at the time—Marie-Antoinette will go to the guillotine.
Baudelaire, Baron Haussmann, the real-life Mimi of La Bohème, Proust, Charles de Gaulle (who is suspected of having faked an assassination attempt on himself in Notre Dame)—these and many more make up Robb's cast of characters. The result is a resonant, intimate history with the power of a great novel.
The secrets of the City of Light, revealed in the lives of the great, the near-great, and the forgotten—by the author of the acclaimed The Discovery of France.
About the Author
Graham Robb has published widely in French literature and history and is the award-winning biographer of Balzac, Victor Hugo, and Rimbaud. His other books include The Discovery of France and Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century. He lives in Oxford, England. Simon Vance, a former BBC Radio presenter and newsreader, is a full-time actor who has appeared on both stage and television. He has recorded over four hundred audiobooks and has earned over twenty Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine, including one for his narration of Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini. A twelve-time Audie finalist, Simon has won Audie Awards for The King's Speech by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Market Forces by Richard K. Morgan, and The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. Winner of the 2008 Booklist Voice of Choice Award, Simon has also been named an AudioFile Golden Voice as well as an AudioFile Best Voice of 2009.