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Paris Out of Hand: A Wayward Guide
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Paris Out of Hand: A Wayward Guide

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  582 ratings  ·  29 reviews
From the author of The Transitive Vampire, comes an invitation to a strangely illuminated City of Light, Paris out of Hand. This seductively beautiful replica of a 19th-century travel book—replete with illustrations of sights you will never see and maps that may plummet you into a different era—guides readers through the Paris that is, that might be, and that never was. Am ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published August 1st 1996 by Chronicle Books
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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  582 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kelli by: Mom
Shelves: travel
Get ready to inhale Paris! This is a wonderfully perfect guidebook to Paris, by heart. In order to really appreciate it, you must approach with complete and reckless abandon...thus, solid preparation for your visit to the city of lights.

What other guidebook tells you about hotels that are open to both guests and their doppelgängers (Hotel Des Strangers)? Gives you an inside scoop into restaurants where the dishes are assembled by blindfolded chefs (Le Cadavre Exquis)? Or, suggests a good place
Michael Rowley
Oct 29, 2008 rated it did not like it
My son lives in Paris and I bought this as a gift for him. It's beautifully designed with help from the guy who did the Griffin and Sabine books. Sadly, I was disappointed. It came across as arcane blurbs that were neither insightful nor entertaining.
Oct 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Francophiles
Shelves: fiction, travel
This book is delightful if you know Paris at all. If you don't, then you may be confused or you may think it is non-fiction. Of course, if you do know Paris, you will certainly know that there is a lot of truth in some of the wonderful descriptions of fantasy hotels and restaurants.
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Beautifully illustrated, imaginary guide to Paris; the written descriptions were just not all that appealing to me.
Dec 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
I found the book amusing, and I am a fan of Nick Bantock but didn't feel the need to read this whole book. I sort of skimmed around and that was enough.
Dianne Trautmann
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was my third or fourth reading of this mock travel guide. I love to savor the descriptions of this faux Paris and compare it with my own memories of this fascinating city. If there is any place that could contain such strange and whimsical places it is surely Paris and this guide will take you there.
@thomas - i loved it.
the perfect companion to my wayward wanderings through the city - augmenting the magicreality that i always find myself finding in paris, through my own thick lenses of imagination & wonder...
thank you. dearly.
Nov 07, 2009 rated it liked it
This isn’t a book you read from cover to cover. I picked it up from time to time over a few years. And what a pleasure to pick up it was—its deep red cloth cover, its heavy pages with rounded corners, its ornate endpapers, its lovely typography and period illustrations throughout in antique ink colors. The target market is the utterly impractical tourist, anyone fascinated by obscure symbols, absurd ideas, strange quotations, and clever wordplay. Amusement, not significance, was foremost in the ...more
Jul 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was great fun to read through. I was living in England, already poking through used book shops for old Baedekers, and thinking about a trip to the mainland. I was dirt poor, but got this for myself as a little treat. It was one of those things that, because of the sacrifice and struggle to acquire, made it that much more valuable to have.
This is not the kind of book to read from front to back, it's a guide, so a page here and a page there are fine. So I picked away at it.
And I credit this
Manik Sukoco
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
What an unusual way to spend a day, month, or maybe just an hour at one of the many strange & somewhatout of this world cafe's & hotels. You would think that maybe that wrong turn you took ended up being on another planet besides earth, so what! These places are so much fun and entertaining than why worry if a person is on some other solar system ! The characters & places are never boring, I can say that I was entertained through out this entire book. I would recommend it to anyone
Frances Sawaya
Dec 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
We took this to read while we were on one of our Paris trips: helped to not take the place too seriously! Funny and clever with great sketches by Nick Bantock (long a favourite of mine). For some reason I kept flashing on the Steinbeck novel with virtually the same concept.Off-road adventures might be best!
Melanie Benezet
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very bizarre... its like Paris on an acid trip and I suspect this is a lot of "inside" jokes that I didn't get. But very cool like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. If you like Nick Bantock you will love the visuals.
Dec 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is the best flip through book there is. Interesting and clever--it is such an amusement. Meant to be in everyone's house. The book is also physically beautiful.
Apr 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
A travelers guide to Paris with alot of fascinating information. Great read even if you never plan to go to Paris.
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Three-line review: This tongue-and-cheek guide to Paris felt like an inside joke I didn't understand. I picked this book up at a used bookstore, but it was neither funny nor entertaining to read. It gets two stars instead of one because I love the hard-copy version, which features illustrations and imagery masterfully created with an array of whimsical ephemera.
Degan Walters
Sep 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: abandoned
I wanted this book for such a little ng time based on the idea of travel writing combined with collage but it is instead a somewhat interesting book about places (hotels, cafes, restaurants, etc.) in Paris, written with a punner’s / language nerd’s / literalist’s delight with a bit of design at the edges. I was disappointed.
Engel Dreizehn
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-2019
On very strange, surreal and satired humor take on an alternate world was very an interesting if weird trip.
Lori Anderson
Aug 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who want something different
Shelves: fantasy
I read this book many years ago because I was on a Nick Bantock kick and he helped illustrate this book.

The book is hilarious, with a dry-wit, tongue-in-cheek, irreverant at times sense of humor. It resembles a travel guide to Paris, but it's definitely not going to get you around the Paris anyone knows.

The book is broken down into sections, covering hotels, restaurants, nightlife, and the like. Hotels starts out with a key, and here is your first clue that the book is going to be a hoot. For
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
I picked this up at the library, mistakenly thinking it was a guide to obscure and offbeat Parisian sites and attractions. It is instead a satirical guide to the spirit of Paris, with a cultural, artistic, linguistic, and literary bent. The humor is mostly an homage to Surrealism and Absurdism.

When I read this I was not in the right frame of mind for it or indeed any other sort of humor book. Author Karen Elizabeth Gordon's jokes seem to me to be built on very thin premises, then stretched and d
Aug 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
I really bought this book for my sister's birthday present, but decided to read it first. It was so disappointing that I didn't give it to her after all. Pooh. Good premise, bad follow-through, but nice illustrations. This book is a real stinker.
Aug 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Lovely, hilarious. If only some of the places in this book were real...!
Mar 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
An entertaining, surrealistic guide to the City of Lights.
Nov 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Awesome and different kind of wacky story!!!
Dylan Benito
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a delightfully odd little book. I'm happy to have read it.
Dec 17, 2015 added it

(not a novel, but novel, a curiosity... not for one sitting... more later... )
Jul 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pleasureread
The symbol for "excellent service" might be familiar to some, ooh la la. This book is hilarious and makes me actually interested in Paris (that's right, I'm not QUITE that type of intellectual)
Nov 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Strange, fun and very odd.
Quirky fun for serious francophiles.
Jennifer Chin
Jul 12, 2007 rated it liked it
Cute and quirky - don't use it as a real guide in Paris, though.
rated it it was amazing
Jul 17, 2007
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Karen Elizabeth Gordon, who is most well-known for her comic language handbooks The New Well-Tempered Sentence and The Deluxe Transitive Vampire, is also author to a collection of short stories published by Dalkey Archive Press. The Red Shoes and Other Tattered Tales was hailed by many critics as Rabelaisian in its humor.

Gordon resides alternately in Berkeley, California and Paris.

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