Montparnasse: Paris’s District of Memory and Desire

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I initially expected John Baxter’s Montparnasse to simply be a travel guide (since the cover does promise “a map and tour of 21 sites”), but in fact it’s an absorbing description of Montparnasse, the famous Parisian district, during its time as a notorious enclave of ex-patriots and artists in the 1920s. The book describes–in eloquent, absorbing prose–the history and evolution of the district’s most well-known locations and personalities, ranging from the Cafe du Dome to Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. And though Hemingway’s time in Paris is well known and documented (including, famously, in A Movable Feast), Baxter brings more dimension and lesser-known detail to both Hemingway’s time there and his relationships with writers like Fitzgerald.

If you’re looking for a travel guide, this perhaps isn’t what you’re looking for. It’s a historical snapshot of a neighborhood that also includes some tips for touring it. And it does a lovely job of it.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 272 pages
Publisher Harper Perennial
Publish Date 2017-Nov-07
ISBN 9780062679048 Buy this Book
Issue April 2018
Category Travel


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