Monday, November 28, 2011
The only thing Oscar Wilde devotees cannot resist is temptation-- the temptation to kiss, embrace, draw upon, carve and otherwise show their delectably destructive love for the great, tormented genius who wrote, among many other things, The Importance of Being Earnest.
Wilde died in Paris in 1900; his tomb dates to 1914, an elegant, airborne confection of stone. It is being loved to death, like Yosemite National Park.
That is why this Wednesday, November 30th, the 111th anniversary of Wilde's death has special meaning. His heirs and Paris municipal authorities have done the unthinkable--for Wilde acolytes, that is: they have protected the funerary monument by encasing it in glass, as if it were the Ara Pacis of August Caesar in Rome. Worshipers are now kept at a safe, sanitized distance.
Here's a snippet of what I wrote in my book "Paris, Paris" about Wilde and his tomb:
A hundred yards away, in Division 92, near the crematorium, a prim woman glanced nervously around before surreptitiously stroking the lumpy pants of long-dead Victor Noir, his prodigious parts already polished by many hands. Another hundred yards east, a teenage boy applied pink lipstick to his lips, puckered and kissed the tomb of Oscar Wilde...
The footage I shot is recent, from a few weeks before the glass was mounted. Why do I have a feeling that very soon the transparent barrier will be smeared and covered with lipstick?
Wilde would love it!
Thursday, November 17, 2011
This insightful review of "Paris, Paris" popped up when I was doing a search on Google... a lovely surprise. I don't know Stephane but he sounds like an intriguing character--half French, half American, lives in New York but spends a lot of time in Paris... In fact he sounds an awful lot like the antihero of my thriller "Paris City of Night." But he hasn't read that book. What he has done is review--thoughtfully and professionally--my book of essays on Paris. Here's the lede and a link to keep reading (highly recommended). (By the way, among hacks "lede" is the start of an article, the first "grafs"...).
Paris, Paris by David Downie
by Stephane on November 9, 2011
Paris, Paris, was first published in 2005. Its reissue this year is a perfect opportunity for those who have any level of knowledge or interest in Paris to read this splendid book.
David Downie is a native San Franciscan who has been living in Paris since the 1980s, writing about travel, food, and wine. Paris, Paris, is a collection of his essays about the city’s people, places, events, and general character.
The book balances the three ingredients of history, current events, and personal sensibility in carefully-dosed proportions. Downie rarely stays in any of the three modes for long, avoiding indulgence and tedium. He pulls off a balancing act that yields a book for people curious enough about any of these angles who may not have the stamina to read a book focused on a single one. He manages to write in a way that draws in those who do not know the city well, while presenting interesting perspectives for those who do.
READ THE WHOLE REVIEW BY COPYING AND PASTING THIS LINK:
And in case you haven't already read "Paris City of Night", here's a link:
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Very nice review of "Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light" in The Sacramento Book Review. Merci! Lovely!!