Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sex and Love in Paris

I'm reading about Paris in preparation for a trip, so when I found a little surprise in a used bookstore, I couldn't resist. John Baxter is an Australian writer who has written a number of biographies of actors and directors and film. He spent time as a screenwriter and teacher in the U.S., then moved to France where he married a French woman and has been living there for roughly 15 years. His book, We'll Always Have Paris is aptly subtitled Sex and Love in the City of Light. This small book is a very clever and funny at times, providing an audacious exploration into French culture, with particular emphasis on the sexual practices of the French. He takes you to small bookstores, cafes and brothels where Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dali, Edward VII, Dietrich and others held court and pursued their appetites. He is a very witty and literate writer who uses frequent references to famous artists, authors, and movie scenes which spice up his tales. Not your typical tourbook, and not a character driven novel either, but a spicy combination of short tales of contemporary encounters and historical reports that provide surprises along the way. Though not a "substantial" or "serious" work, he provides some humorous diversion for the curious who may be interested in an usual memoir of life abroad in the City of Light.

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