Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Town like Paris


Having just finished a fairly intense read (highly recommend previous blog) when I saw this on a friends shelf I just had to read it. Bryce Corbett is an Australian author and journalist, an fellow blogger, who has documented his entry into Parisian life over a 6 year period of highs and lows. He has a way with words that could grant him the honorable title of one the great Aussie story teller's, only he's telling stories about Paris (mostly). As one review has sumarised:
Fleeing London, in search of adventure and determined to sample some of the famed delights of the City of Light, our hero arrives in Paris with only a suitcase and a determination to have the time of his life. He launches himself into la vie parisienne, throws himself at the local female population and quickly discovers his down-home Aussie charm has no currency in France. Like the monotonous series of rejections he receives from Parisian women, our hero’s attempts at assimilation are similarly rebuffed. Undeterred, he teams up with a bunch of like-minded ex-pats and the ensuing years pass in a blur of bachelor-inspired hedonism. Paris is their playground—and they discover, to their delight—it is a city with a seedy underbelly. As a detached observer who is nevertheless thrust into the daily business of getting by in France, the author is exposed to some of the more unfathomable idiosyncracies of the French. And just when he thinks Paris has offered him all she has to give, he meets a Paris showgirl—an Australian beauty whose sequin-clad high-kicks are the toast of the Champs Elysees. Before he knows it, he is in love …
For me, I was easily taken to the streets of a Paris I only know as a tourist, and was encouraged to dream of them as my own. He had to find an apartment, then win it with his way with words, then he took us on the journey of finding a local GP and familiarising himself with his quartier. each step along the way was an experience. I enjoyed being inside the head of a 30 year old male trying to find his way - celebrating his 30th with a tomatoe throwing event in Spain, taking opportunities to mingle with the rich and famous at embassy parties, and trying to make sense of the opposite sex. I was happy with the ending - fairy tale stuff.

I have spent more time in the country of France than I have in the city, and I think most of his analysis should be considered an analysis of the Parisian, not the French way of life. All in all though a good easy read, entertaining, transporting and one for a good chuckle when sitting in a train!

4 comments:

Karen said...

I didn't realise this was the book you were talking about when you commented on my blog. I tried to read this one ages ago and I couldn't finish it. I really wanted to like it - I usually enjoy any story where someone has moved to another country - but I just couldn't stand this guy at all!! Glad you enjoyed it though.

Tamara said...

I know what you mean about the bloke - when I started it I decided I had to look past the fact I probably wouldn't talk to him in a bar.

Karen said...

You are so good to be able to do that!! I just couldn't get past how annoying he was to take in the rest of the book unfortunately - I probably missed out on lots of good stuff.

dolcebellezza said...

This looks really good. I love to read about Paris, and your review reminded me of another young guy who went to live there and wrote of his experiences. It's called Paris To The Moon. Aren't those the 'lucky' ones (everyone makes their own luck, perhaps I should say adventurous ones) to go and fulfill their dreams?