2007: 42. Paris to the Moon

“Not long after we moved to Paris, in the fall of 1995, my wife, Martha, and I saw, in the window of a shop on the rue Saint-Suplice, a nineteenth-century engraving, done in the manner, though now I’m inclined to think not the hand, of Daumier.”

Paris to the Moon,  Adam Gopnik

I absolutely enjoyed reading this book, which is a collection of pieces from a New Yorker writer who moved to Paris with his wife and young son, and wrote about how life there was different from his life in New York.  Gopnik is a hell of a writer, and the parts that are on are so, so good, that they touch your heart, and make you understand France, and America and Gopnik, and being young and everything.  The parts that are off, unfortunately, read like the sort of smug self-satisfied New Yorker pieces* that make you hate the magazine and every rich person in New York City.  They are so self satisfied and charming and detached from every normal human being on earth that it makes little old over-educated me feel like a member of the proletariat, and I live in a row house in Georgetown.  Which is to say, he makes is life seem better and more perfect than mine, which I hate.  

But when he is on, his stuff is so great that it brought a tear to my eye, and his talk of his son  made me want to start a family, and his talk of Paris made me want to drop it all and go, so I must say that this is a great book - good enough that I am going to take my risk with my own envy and read his sequel about New York.  Here is a passage that I loved:

“At the end, though, the troupe took its final bow and threw these little glowing green bracelets up into the audience as a favor.  A few came up as high as we were.  The French fathers, soccer players to a man, snatched at them from the wrist as they flew up, like men slapping futilely at mosquitoes.  I stood up and with years of incompetent Central Park softball under my belt, I pounded my right fist into my left and pulled one in like a pop-up.  Then I handed it to Luke.  The other fathers in the row looked at me with pure hate.  I shrugged and have never felt so obnoxious, so proud, so imperial, so American.”


Pg. 45, Paperback Edition


Recommend for: People who dream of Paris; people who love the New Yorker; People who either live perfect Manhattan lives, or wish they did.


Date/Place Completed:  3/27/07; D.C.

Categories: Non-Fiction; Book Club


*See also Caitlin Flanagan (and don’t tell me she writes for The Atlantic, because SSDD, you know?)

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017