Jill's Reviews > Paris to the Moon

Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik
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Sep 21, 09

Read in July, 2009

I might have given Paris to the Moon a higher rating if I hadn't read this right after Edmund White's Le Flaneur, truth be told. I liked White's approach of tackling the little known fringes of Parisian life. Gopnik's book just seemed very typical by comparison - the expatriate's musings on the cultural differences between Paris and his native country, anecdotes of his efforts to adapt to a new lifestyle, etc.

There are some gems in the series of essays - compiled from Gopnik's writings for the New Yorker and Gopnik's a decent enough writer. But is it possible for a book on Paris to be dreary from start to end when Paris is such an inherently fascinating (to me at least) city?

The parts I loved best were Gopnik's descriptions of Parisian locales, the spaces that he discovered and grew to call his own - the Luxembourg Gardens, the taxidermist Deyrolle in the Rue de Bac, his description of his "favourite architectural detail in Paris", the little entrance to the Grand Institute de France on the Rue de Seine. Some of his anecdotes of culture shock and adaptation - his adventures with Christmas tree lights for example, the saga of his gym membership and musings on the power of Barney and the appeal of soccer (ok fine, football) were entertaining enough but they don't necessarily make a deep impression in your brain.
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