Paris to the Moon

Paris to the Moon

Book - 2000
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Paris. The name alone conjures images of chestnut-lined boulevards, sidewalk cafés, breathtaking façades around every corner--in short, an exquisite romanticism that has captured the American imagination for as long as there have been Americans. In 1995, Adam Gopnik, his wife, and their infant son left the familiar comforts and hassles of New York City for the urbane glamour of the City of Light. Gopnik is a longtime New Yorker writer, and the magazine has sent its writers to Paris for decades--but his was above all a personal pilgrimage to the place that had for so long been the undisputed capital of everything cultural and beautiful. It was also the opportunity to raise a child who would know what it was to romp in the Luxembourg Gardens, to enjoy a croque monsieur in a Left Bank café--a child (and perhaps a father, too) who would have a grasp of that Parisian sense of style we Americans find so elusive. So, in the grand tradition of the American abroad, Gopnik walked the paths of the Tuileries, enjoyed philosophical discussions at his local bistro, wrote as violet twilight fell on the arrondissements. Of course, as readers of Gopnik's beloved and award-winning "Paris Journals" in The New Yorker know, there was also the matter of raising a child and carrying on with day-to-day, not-so-fabled life. Evenings with French intellectuals preceded middle-of-the-night baby feedings; afternoons were filled with trips to the Musée d'Orsay and pinball games; weekday leftovers were eaten while three-star chefs debated a "culinary crisis." As Gopnik describes in this funny and tender book, the dual processes of navigating a foreign city and becoming a parent are not completely dissimilar journeys--both hold new routines, new languages, a new set of rules by which everyday life is lived. With singular wit and insight, Gopnik weaves the magical with the mundane in a wholly delightful, often hilarious look at what it was to be an American family man in Paris at the end of the twentieth century. "We went to Paris for a sentimental reeducation-I did anyway-even though the sentiments we were instructed in were not the ones we were expecting to learn, which I believe is why they call it an education."
Publisher: New York : Random House, 2000.
ISBN: 9780679444923
Branch Call Number: 944.3600413 Gop
Characteristics: 338 pages


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WVMLStaffPicks Dec 18, 2014

A writer for the New Yorker takes his wife and infant son to live in Paris for five years in the late nineties. Naïve new parents, they think they can save their son from the ‘Barnification’ of American culture. He is a keen chronicler of the differences he finds in France - both small (the circular strings of Christmas tree lights) and large (the resistance to reforming the French way of life to suit the global economy). This is an escapist book for everyone who is a bit dreamy about this particular city. As he says at the outset, “My head was filled with pictures of Paris, mostly in black and white, and I wanted to be in them.”

Carolgraham May 07, 2013

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Oct 07, 2012

I am always fascinated with an expat story. Gopnik is a great writer and just love listening to him speak as well.

ser_library Dec 10, 2011

great writing and feeling for Paris

Oct 01, 2011

An utterly boring scope of minute differences between New York and Paris life. A definite sleeper, unless you consider this author's writing to be witty, which I did not. (May 2005)

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