‘The Flaneur: A Stroll through the Paradoxes of Paris’ by Edmund White

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Genre: Memoir/Travel Writing
This is my first experience with Edmund White, who has been described as ‘an eccentric, yet brilliant poet’ and is known for his gay-love literature. Therefore, when I was given this book I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this ‘must-read’ author.
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Part autobiographical, part historical and part travel guide White delves into reasons why Paris is such an iconic city and why the only reason to experience all that it has to offer is through walking the streets.
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Each chapter of this book touches on different aspects of the city such as the politics, what makes a city and homosexuality. Therefore each chapter is written is entirely different, growing more opinated and subjective the more you read. In one chapter he gives intimate and fascinating insights into famous Parisians such Sidonie Gabrielle Colette, simply known as Collette. An intensely sensual woman who would not let trivial things like husbands, lovers or children stop her from living a life the way she wanted to. In another, he criticises France’s response to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and the effect this had on the homosexual community of Paris. In the same chapter he also gives personal accounts of the best place to meet men in Paris. This wasn’t the easiest book to read. White covers a lot of ground within a short space of time but his notes on Paris are insightful, interesting and personal. A great read for anyone who loves Paris!
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There are numerous editions to this book but I highly recommend the Bloomsbury Publishing series called The Writer and the City, it’s a stunning edition that is a perfect gift (:
Love,
Vanessa

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