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Paris (English Edition)
 
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Paris (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Edward Rutherfurd
4.2 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

Chapter One

1875

Paris. City of love. City of dreams. City of splendor. City of saints and scholars. City of gaiety.

Sink of iniquity.

In two thousand years, Paris had seen it all.



It was Julius Caesar who had first seen the possibilities of the place where the modest Parisii tribe made their home. The Mediterranean lands of southern Gaul had already been Roman provinces for generations at that time; but when Caesar decided to bring the troublesome Celtic tribes of northern Gaul into the empire as well, it hadn’t taken him long.

The Romans had quickly seen that this was a logical place for a town. A collecting point for the produce of the huge fertile plains of northern Gaul, the Parisian territory lay on the navigable River Seine. From its headwaters farther south, there was an easy portage to the huge River Rhône, which ran down to the busy ports of the Mediterranean. Northward, the Seine led to the narrow sea across which the island of Britannia lay. This was the great river system through which the southern and northern worlds were joined. Greek and Phoenician traders had been using it even before the birth of Rome. The site was perfect. The Parisian heartland lay in a wide, shallow valley through which the Seine made a series of graceful loops. In the center of the valley, on a handsome east-west bend, the river widened and several big mudflats and islands lay, like so many huge barges at anchor, in the stream. On the northern bank, meadows and marshes stretched far and wide until they came to the lip of low, enclosing ridges, from which several small hills and promontories jutted out, some of them covered with vineyards.

But it was on the southern bank--the left bank as one went downstream--that the ground near the river swelled gently into a low, flat hillock, like a table overlooking the water. And it was here that the Romans had laid out their town, a large forum and the main temple covering the top of the table with an amphitheater nearby, a grid of streets all around, and a north-south road running straight through the center, across the water to the largest island, which was now a suburb with a fine temple to Jupiter, and over a farther bridge to the northern bank. They had originally called the town Lutetia. But it was also known, more grandly, as the city of the Parisii.



In the Dark Ages after the Roman Empire fell, the German tribe of Franks had conquered the territory in the Land of the Franks, as it came to be called, or France. Its rich countryside had been invaded by Huns and Viking Norsemen. But the island in the river, with its wooden defenses, like some battered old ship, survived. In medieval times, she’d grown into a great city, her maze of Gothic churches, tall timbered houses, dangerous alleys and stinking cellars spread across both sides of the Seine, enclosed by a high stone wall. Stately Notre Dame Cathedral graced the island. Her university was respected all over Europe. Yet even then, the English came and conquered her. And Paris might have been English if Joan of Arc, the miraculous maid, hadn’t appeared and chased them out.

Old Paris: City of bright colors and narrow streets, of carnival and plague.

And then there was new Paris.

The change had come slowly. From the time of the Renaissance, lighter, classical spaces began to appear in her dark medieval mass. Royal palaces and noble squares created a new splendor. Broad boulevards began to carve through the rotting old warrens. Ambitious rulers created vistas worthy of ancient Rome.

Paris had altered her face to suit the magnificence of Louis XIV, and the elegance of Louis XV. The Age of Enlightenment and the new republic of the French Revolution had encouraged classical simplicity, and the age of Napoleon bequeathed imperial grandeur.

Recently, this process of change had been accelerated by a new town planner. Baron Haussmann’s great network of boulevards and long, straight streets lined with elegant office and apartment blocks was so thorough that there were quarters of Paris now where the rich mess of the Middle Ages was scarcely to be seen.

Yet old Paris was still there, around almost every corner, with her memories of centuries past, and of lives relived. Memories as haunting as an old, half-forgotten tune that, when played again--in another age, in another key, whether on harp or hurdy-gurdy--is still the same. This was her enduring grace.

Was Paris now at peace with herself? She had suffered and survived, seen empires rise and fall. Chaos and dictatorship, monarchy and republic: Paris had tried them all. And which did she like best? Ah, there was a question . . . For all her age and grace, it seemed she did not know.

Recently, she had suffered another terrible crisis. Four years ago, her people had been eating rats. Humiliated first, starving next. Then they had turned upon each other. It had not been long since the bodies had been buried, the smell of death been dispersed by the wind and the echo of the firing squads departed over the horizon.

Now, in the year 1875, she was recovering. But many great issues remained still to be resolved.



The little boy was only three. A fair-haired, blue-eyed child. Some things he knew already. Others were still kept from him. And then there were the secrets.

Father Xavier gazed at him. How like his mother the child looked. Father Xavier was a priest, but he was in love with a woman, the mother of this child. He admitted his passion to himself, but his self-discipline was complete. No one would have guessed his love. As for the little boy, God surely had a plan for him.

Perhaps that he should be sacrificed.

It was a sunny day in the fashionable Tuileries Gardens in front of the Louvre, where nannies watched their children play, and Father Xavier was taking him for a walk. Father Xavier: family confessor, friend in need, priest.

“What are your names?” he playfully asked the child.

“Roland, D’Artagnan, Dieudonne de Cygne.” He knew them all by heart.

“Bravo, young man.” Father Xavier Parle-Doux was a small, wiry man in his forties. Long ago he’d been a soldier. A fall from a horse had left him with a stabbing pain in his back ever since--though only a handful of people were aware of it.

But his days as a soldier had marked him in another way. He had done his duty. He’d seen killing. He had seen things worse than killing. And in the end, it had seemed to him that there must be something better than this, something more sacred, an undying flame of light and love in the terrible darkness of the world. He’d found it in the heart of Holy Church.

Also, he was a monarchist.

He’d known the child’s family all his life, and now he looked down at him with affection, but also with pity. Roland had no brother or sister. His mother, that beautiful soul, the woman he himself would have liked to marry had he not chosen another calling, suffered with delicate health. The future of the family might rest on little Roland alone: a heavy burden for a boy to bear.

But he knew that as a priest, he must take a larger view. What was it the Jesuits said? “Give us a boy till he’s seven, and he’s ours for life.” Whatever God’s plan for this child, whether that service led to happiness or not, Father Xavier would lead him toward it.

“And who was Roland?”

“Roland was a hero.” The little boy looked up for approval. “My mother read me the story. He was my ancestor,” he added solemnly.

The priest smiled. The famous Song of Roland was a haunting, romantic tale, from a thousand years ago, about how the emperor Charlemagne’s friend was cut off as the army crossed the mountains. How Roland blew on his horn for help, to no avail. How the Saracens slew him, and how the emperor wept for the loss of his friend. The de Cygne family’s claim to this ancestor was fanciful, but charming.

“Others of your ancestors were crusading knights.” Father Xavier nodded encouragingly. “But this is natural. You are of noble birth.” He paused. “And who was D’Artagnan?”

“The famous Musketeer. He was my ancestor.”

As it happened, the hero of The Three Musketeers had been based upon a real man. And Roland’s family had married a noblewoman of the same name back in the time of Louis XIV--though whether they had taken much interest in this connection before the novel made the name famous, the priest rather doubted.

“You have the blood of the D’Artagnans in your veins. They were soldiers who served their king.”

“And Dieudonne?” the child asked.

Hardly were the words out before Father Xavier checked himself. He must be careful. Could the child have any idea of the horror of the guillotine that lay behind the last of his names?

“Your grandfather’s name is beautiful, you know,” he replied. “It means ‘the gift of God.’ ” He thought for a moment. “The birth of your grandfather was--I do not say a miracle--but a sign. And remember one thing, Roland,” the priest continued. “Do you know the motto of your family? It is very important. ‘Selon la volonte de Dieu’--According to God’s Will.”



Father Xavier turned his eyes up to survey the landscape all around. To the north rose the hill of Montmartre, where Saint Denis had been martyred by pagan Romans, sixteen centuries ago. To the southwest, behind the towers of Notre Dame, rose the slope above the Left Bank where, as the old Roman Empire was crumbling, the indefatigable Saint Genevieve had asked God to turn Attila and his Huns away from the city--and her prayers had been answered.

Time and again, thought the priest, God had protected France in her hour of need. When th...

Revue de presse

 
Praise for PARIS: The Novel

"Anyone who has ever visited Paris or desires to do so will definitely want to dig into this movable feast. Both Paris, the venerable City of Light, and Rutherfurd, the undisputed master of the multigenerational historical saga, shine in this sumptuous urban epic."
 --Booklist

"Rutherfurd's sense of epic sweep is admirable."
--Kirkus

“Paris has been both good and bad to the aristocratic de Cygne family over the centuries. While one generation was welcome at the nearby court of Versailles, another faced the guillotine during the Reign of Terror. Edward Rutherfurd's latest historical novel tracks the de Cygnes and a few other families in Paris from 1261 to 1968 as the city evolves from a medieval outpost to world-class metropolis. His primary focus is on the cohort born later in the 19th century who grew up to witness the existential threat to Paris in two world wars. Aside from the noble de Cygnes, the book follows the merchant Blanchard family, the working-class Gascons and the lefty Le Sourd clan. Action jumps from their day to points in the past. The fates of the families intersect over the centuries like lines on a Paris subway map. The churches, gardens and back alleys of long-ago Paris are revealed through the characters' eyes…The last part of the book, is set in occupied Paris during World War II. In this long, climactic section, Rutherfurd succeeds best at describing not just the buildings and gardens of Paris, but also the actual mood of the city under Nazi rule. Some of the characters respond heroically, another cynically, leading to a familial reckoning that is both tense and enjoyable to read.”
Associated Press

Praise for New York: The Novel
 
"Sweeping…History has never been so fun to read.”—USA Today
 
“[A] riotous, multilayered portrait.”—The Washington Post
 
“Incredible storytelling . . . Readers will fall in love with the iconic city.”
—The Post and Courier
 
 
Praise for The Princes of Ireland
 
“A sweeping, carefully reconstructed portrait of a nation…leaps through centuries.”
New York Times
 
“A spellbinding tour of ancient Ireland.”—Booklist
 
 
Praise for The Rebels of Ireland
 
“Teeming with a huge cast of finely drawn and realized characters, and dripping with authentic historical detail [that] will satisfy the appetites of discerning historical fiction aficionados.”
Booklist
 
 
Praise for Sarum

 
“Strong…Appealing…Fascinating.”—Chicago Sun-Times
 
“A sparkling window upon history with a superb narrative.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram
 
“A richly imagined vision of history, written with genuine delight.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 
 
Praise for London: The Novel
 
Remarkable…Grand.”—New York Times
 
“Rutherfurd is a skilled storyteller…juggles his immense cast with great poise and momentum.”
Washington Post Book World

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Commentaires en ligne 

4.2 étoiles sur 5
4.2 étoiles sur 5
Commentaires client les plus utiles
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 un peu déçue 20 juin 2013
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
peut-être en attendais-je trop, mais je m'étais habituée à des livres très complets et il me semble que la question aurait pu être plus fouillée. Lecture très agréable ce nonobstant.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Decouvert de Edward Rutherford 30 août 2014
Par C.Dupouy
Format:Broché
J'ai beaucoup aimé ce livre et la façon que l'histoire se deroule. Il y a enormément d'information, de petits détails de tout les époches. On suit quatre families different, à differents époches .... moyenne age jusqu'a après la deuxième guerre mondiale, mais on ne se perd pas, on s'accroche ..... C'est une vrai Pavé ..... j'ai pensé en avoir pour quelques semaines mais impossible de le lacher une fois dedans.... Super ..... j'ai hâte de lire d'autres de la même auteur.
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3.0 étoiles sur 5 not the best of his books 9 juillet 2014
Par MCT
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I enjoyed greatly Londo,; Sarum, but Paris is more mesy...you're going back in time too often, and you therefore loose track of the story and people. I haven't finished it yet, as I find difficult to stick to it..0it may get better!!
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 great holiday reading 4 août 2013
Par Lynne
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Loved being so close to Paris and its history - I town I have lived in for over thirty years but felt I was Re-discovering though the pages of this book
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  810 commentaires
180 internautes sur 186 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Masterful Illumination of the City of Lights 7 avril 2013
Par Holly Weiss - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Edward Rutherfurd is undoubtedly the reigning master of the multi-period epic novel. Paris: The Novel showcases his impeccable research and narrative talent. This sweeping novel covers 700 years of one of the most famous global cities. Paris's well-deserved fascination is magnificently illuminated. Triumphant as the city's architecture and culture, the book is a propulsive march through the geography, society and history of Paris.

We follow a few families from 1261 and the building of Notre Dame Cathedral to the student revolt of 1968. Thus we view Paris through the eyes of the people who walked its streets, viewed its art, fought its wars, debated its philosophers and constructed its monuments. Their stories and relationships with the city come alive. Why do we associate plaster of Paris, French onion soup and the greatest wines in the world with the city? Rutherfurd tells us with each meticulously written human story.

The main player in the story is Paris itself. We learn about the building of the Eiffel tower, the Moulin Rouge, the impressionist painters and poets, the Palace of Versailles, the violence of the French Revolution, the couture clothing industry and countless more French associations. Paris's coat of arms contains a ship with the city's Latin motto," Whatever the storm, the ship sails on." Your visit to Paris will be clear sailing with splendid views.

Brimming with historical detail and intellectually stimulating, the book delivers the human experience of the great city through absolutely enjoyable storytelling. "Especially at times of war and upheaval--there should be people of culture and humanity to protect our heritage." Paris: The Novel does just that.
207 internautes sur 221 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A lackluster portrait of the City of Light 23 avril 2013
Par Maine Colonial - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
I remember reading Rutherfurd's first historical epic, Sarum, and being swept away by the story of Salisbury, England and its families through the centuries. Since then, Rutherfurd has written several more of these historical novels, about Russia, Ireland, London and New York.

Rutherfurd has developed a sort of formula for these novels. He takes a few families and follows their generations through the centuries. The families tend to be from varying levels of society, so that their stories can give a fuller view of life in the particular location of the story. Different family members will be involved in some way with key events in the location's history, and quite often the families have interactions or relationships with each other throughout the history.

In this book, the families are the highborn de Cygnes; the Le Sourds, pitted against the de Cygnes again and again throughout the ages; the laborer/artisan Gascons; the commerce-minded Blanchards; the Jewish Jacobs. For some reason not clear to me, Rutherfurd has chosen to skip around in time, rather than follow a chronological order. Not only do you jump from one set of characters to another from chapter to chapter, you may jump forward or backward in time.

This jumping around makes it difficult to develop the characters. Just as you're starting to get a picture of one set of characters, the chapter ends. I suppose that's the tradeoff for a novel that spans centuries and that focuses on the history of the place. The place becomes the protagonist and all the humans become side characters. Well, OK, if that's the deal, then I can accept it if I love the treatment of the protagonist. But I can't say that I did. Paris did not come alive for me in this book.

The sweeping sociopolitical events and movements in French/Parisian history are handled in very broad strokes and in a labored and pedantic way. You get a clue as to the style right from the get-go, when the history of the Paris Commune is given to us by way of a turgid monologue delivered by a mother to her son. I know this background has to be provided somehow, but the way this read, I could imagine Rutherfurd's early draft saying "[insert history here]." I couldn't help but compare it to Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, where there is also a lot of historical information that is told by way of conversations, or one character telling another the history. I had just been listening to the audiobook and a character, Jack Shaftoe, tells his horse (really) some fairly lengthy history and it was both entertaining and educational; a huge contrast to this book.

Interspersed with the broad-brush historical descriptions, Rutherfurd focuses in on some selected events in a more personal way. One of these is his focus on the building of the Eiffel Tower, and Thomas Gascon's work on both it and the Statue of Liberty that M. Eiffel designed and Parisians built as a gift to the United States. This was probably the most dynamic and lively part of the book, and Thomas Gascon the most dimensional character.

Unfortunately, that only tends to emphasize how paper-thin the characterization is in nearly all the other cases. People behave in ways that Rutherfurd lays no foundation for; presumably it's just convenient for his plot. The characters seem like dolls that Rutherfurd uses to act out his stories, not like real people. I just didn't care about any of them. That became painfully clear in the middle of the book, when there is a long chapter about a love/social position triangle. I wasn't invested in the characters, because they hadn't been brought to life. The same is true for almost the entire 20th century, when Rutherfurd inexplicably plunges the story into a ridiculous soap opera, complete with love triangles, an adoptee searching for her birth family, sexual intrigue and so on.

What's more, most of this could have been placed almost anywhere. Paris is just window dressing. When a character goes to work as a model for Coco Chanel, we read virtually nothing about her work or Chanel. In other words, our protagonist, the city of Paris, is depicted as superficially as the human characters. An exception to this is when we arrive at World War II. Suddenly, the story becomes very Parisian and far less superficial. It's a shame the reader has to wait until the last 100 pages of the book for this transformation.

It's disappointing that Rutherfurd managed to write such a lackluster book about one of the world's most fascinating cities. I would have given the book 2.5 stars, rounded down to 2 stars, but because the World War II story was good, I'm rounding up to three stars.
97 internautes sur 109 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 For Lovers of Paris; For Lovers of Grand Historical Novels 1 avril 2013
Par James Ellsworth - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Edward Rutherfurd's 'Paris' is a wonderfully satisfying blend of the historical novel that combines fascinating insights into the physical development of the city with a sympathetic look at its social development as well. The plot of this sweeping (805-pages, 90 years, momentous events)novel stands on its own due to the vividness of the characters the author offers. Their lives are not atypical but neither are they stereotypical. Nor are the characters rooted in just one level of society: skilled workers, small merchants, large merchant/aristocratic families are represented.

Lovers of the city of Paris may particularly enjoy the results of the author's careful and extensive researches: examples include why the sculptor Bartoldi needed the help of the engineer Gustav Eiffel to erect the Statue of Liberty and the many ingenious ways in which Eiffel solved problems in erecting his own tower, since that time the signature of the 'City of Light.' Prompted by the author's descriptions, one can also revisit the wonderful upper chapel of St. Chappelle at the heart of medieval Paris. Many other delights unfold. Due regard is given to exploring both the city's high culture and its bawdy side as well. One meets Impressionist painters and Art Nouveau cabinet makers; one enters a bordello; one experiences a bit of the German occupation during World War II, including the Liberation of Paris, with a sly manoeuvre by Charles De Gaulle to thwart the Left. The novel ends with the new Paris Commune student rebellion at the end of Charles De Gaulle's Fifth Republic. The novel, then, mainly spans the period from 1875 until 1968, although there are flashbacks to far earlier periods in the city's life.

Rutherfurd's family has had long connections to Paris and to France as well as to Britain. He well knows the city he writes about--at least based on what we find on the page. I have been to France and to Paris from time to time and have read about it often and what this book offers rings true. Readers may well end up, as does one of the characters, wishing for a 'pied-a-terre' in Paris!
39 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Grand Sweeping Taste of Paris! 8 avril 2013
Par MommaMia - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
If you are in the mood for a grand sweeping novel that highlights the dazzling city of Paris from the 1200's through the 1960's, if you like an author who prides himself on meticulous research, if you love historical fiction of any kind, then Paris by Edward Rutherfurd is the epic for you!

My difficulty with Mr. Rutherfurd's books are simple. I love his writing. I don't like how we are never given enough time to really get to know his characters, as intriguing as they are, we never really get to the bare bones of who they are. By the time we come to the thought that we might like or not like a particular character, Mr. Rutherfurd has moved on to yet another era in the history of Paris. This is nothing new to readers of Mr. Rutherfurd's work. If you can get past that, these books give you a rare glimpse into the development of a city, a culture and a main character unto itself! Perhaps that's really the point of it for our author. Perhaps it's the city's development that is the most important aspect of his work. Perhaps the human players are just supporting actors in the building of this one main, all important character. I guess if I look at it that way, the story is perfect. Try to view the city itself as the be all and end all, as THE main character of this sweeping novel, and perhaps the change from one year to another won't be as much a bother.

Paris is a historical fiction masterpiece that will have you adding a trip to the City of Light to your bucket list!
32 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 "Delightful" 24 mai 2013
Par NostraSeamus - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
In four decades or so of voracious reading, I have never once been inspired to pre-order a book. Until, that is, this previous winter when I found out the release date for Paris. I sprained a finger mouse-clicking my way to Amazon to make sure my copy was downloaded the minute midnight of April 23rd arrived. Given how much I'd enjoyed Rutherfurd's previous work and the subject he was tackling in this, his latest novel, I knew I'd be in for hours of...dare I say it..."delightful" reading.

The respect I have for Edward Rutherfurd and the enjoyment I've experienced reading his work probably accounts for the second star. I was very deeply disappointed with Rutherfurd's effort here. Before I wrote this review, I thought perhaps that it was unfair to judge Paris against, say London or Sarum. Even if not judged against the quality of Rutherfurd's other books, though, in a vacuum Paris would have still received very low marks.

The book suffers serious flaws in three areas: execution, prose and character development.

Instead of a narrative that proceeds chronologically from some point in Paris' early history, Rutherfurd jumps between periods in the city's distant past and the turn of the 20th century. The result is that the arc of Paris' history becomes somewhat choppy and fractured. I'm not adverse to Rutherfurd trying a new approach, as long as it's not at the expense of the story he's trying to tell. In his previous books, there's a certain momentum which builds as the story progresses through the centuries. Even though they may take place decades, or centuries apart, characters and storylines build on, and compliment, those from past eras. Paris does not have this flow.

About 45% of the book takes place in the period between 1875 and 1925, which in my opinion doesn't do justice to the very long and colorful history of the city. As I read, I found myself wondering if, during the book's writing, Rutherfurd experienced some sort of crisis over what form the novel would take. There are many scenes in the turn-of-the-century part of the book in which characters guide each other around the city, describing the city's landmarks and their history. Perhaps the first versions of Paris were so large that the author had to excise period chapters in favor of this somewhat wooden exposition. If that's the case, then I wish he'd have split Paris into two books or just written the book he seems to have wanted to write, focusing on turn of the century Paris.

I was amazed at how poor (sometimes shockingly so) the quality of some the writing was. An illustrative example is Rutherfurd's appalling overuse of the word "delight" in its various forms. The frequency with which the words "delight", "delighted" and "delightful" were crammed onto pages (and sometimes single paragraphs) was genuinely cringe-worthy. Guests arrive for dinner and have a good time because "everything was a delight". Characters' journey through the pages "delighted" with one and other ad nauseum. Whether it be a meal, a park, newly moved in neighbors next door, it is a "delight". The overuse of this word typifies a sort of laziness one doesn't typically encounter in a writer of Rutherfurd's immense talent. One character walks through a park "quite alone" on an evening "quite pleasant" and "quite dark". This lack of effort permeates the prose. At one soiree, everyone has a good time because "everything was wonderful". The Edward Rutherfurd I admire just doesn't tell me it's wonderful, he tells me what makes "everything" wonderful.

I've read negative reviews of the writer's work as a whole which focus on the lack of character development. I usually find the opposite to be true. One of the things I most enjoy about Rutherfurd's other books is the depth of character he develops within the confines of the vignette of the time period he's writing about. In London or New York, for example, many times I was genuinely sad to see the story about a given time period end because I had to say goodbye to the characters I'd become concerned about over the previous eighty to a hundred pages. I can't remember one instance in Paris where I felt anything more than a mild interest in the characters described in the book.
By and large, there are no villains in this book. The chief antagonists here seem to be the whims of royalty, illness, war and the distinctions of class. The absence of conflict between characters in the book leads to a very limited sense of drama, which results in not really caring too much about anyone in the book. The aforementioned 45% of the book is mainly peopled by characters that have the means and the time to serve as tour guides to the city. Reading the characters' descriptions of history, politics and various schools of art felt like sitting in a lecture. Yes, the author has in the past used this method to provide context to the events in the story, but he has hitherto done so in much more elegant fashion than in Paris.

These folks, who find each other and their city "wonderful", "quite pleasant" and, of course "delightful" lend an air of insipid, cloying wonderfulness to the whole story. Life is so grand that any minute I expected to turn the page and witness parades of unicorns and butterflies proceeding down the Champs Elysees under clouds of cotton candy on which sit cherubs..delightedly..looking on. They seem so self-satisfied in their Frenchness; their lot in life as Parisians. I would not begrudge them their smugness if only Rutherfurd would tell us why it's so great to be French, and living in Paris.

Somewhere along the line, I think something in Edward Rutherfurd's organization broke down. I'm amazed that certain passages in this book got through the author, the author's assistant, the author's friends and family, the author's agent and the author's editor at Doubleday. While I'm too much of a fan of Rutherfurd's to believe he mailed it in, I have trouble understanding how someone..anyone..familiar with the man's work didn't suggest putting this project completely aside and having a look at it with fresh eyes three or four months down the road.

All this said..I will probably be furiously clicking to Amazon in another couple years to pre-order his next book...which I hope is entitled Paris (This Time I Really Mean It).
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