Cuyahoga River

Cuyahoga River
Cuyahoga River in the Valley

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Remember Paris

Tatiana de Rosnay's Sarah’s Key was tragic and redemptive. Set in WWII Paris and in modern-day Paris, de Rosnay wove the tales of two women, a young Jewish girl who innocently locked her brother in the closet on the day of the 1942 roundup and a middle-aged woman married to an insensitive Frenchman. The stories are told in alternating short chapters--hats off to de Rosnay for seamless stories told in alternating chapters. I liked the intrigue of a modern-day ex-patriot in Paris trying to find the woman whose brother was locked in a closet and who escaped the death camp amidst Parisians' denial that the arrests of 1942 took place. Both women were triumphant and found redemption.

I read the novel on the heels of reading Julia Child's memoir My Life in Paris. I enjoyed experiencing Child's experiments with recipes in her apartment on the Left Bank and the trials and tribulations of collaboration, publishing, and television production. Unfortunately, I read the book after seeing the movie Julie and Julia, which portrayed Child as insensitive. Apparently the way Julia treated Julie in the movie was a fabrication. The movie was unkind to Julia Child.

I haven't been to Paris in seven years. Its energy and verve came back to me because I recognized many of the sites in these books. I was strolling the shady Tuileries, the streets bustling with restaurants, and the Left Bank where artists line up to sell their paintings with the Seine below them. I remember eating escargot while watching Notre Dame become a beacon in the darkening sky. These books highlight the tendency of Parisians to ignore the unpleasant and their fervent love for their city and their food.

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