Reviews of Australian Books #5

Aileen Reid reviews John Baxter's latest We'll Always Have Paris: Sex and Love in the City of Light for "The Daily Telegraph". Baxter moved to Paris in 1989 to be with the woman who was later to become the mother of his child and his wife. The book details his first few years in the city as he tries to come to terms with Paris and Parisians.

Threaded through all this are entertaining insights into the perils of being an expat in Paris: the ton of turds deposited on the streets every day by disgusting little rat-dogs which are allowed to roam anywhere they want - restaurants, delicatessens, you name it; or the stream of visitors from down under. Baxter gets a desperate phone call from one couple: "There's a big church... Two towers?... Yair... That's Notre Dame... Oh. Marlene wants to know if there's a dunny in there. She's busting."
Her final evaluation: "All in all, We'll Always Have Paris is dirty, untidy, romantic and in equal parts charming and irritating...So, en effet, it is much like Paris itself."

Tom Payne achieves something quite strange with his piece on Twilight of Love: Travels with Turgenev by Robert Dessaix, also in "The Daily Telegraph": a review which offers no opinions whatsoever. Oh, okay, maybe just the one: "There are times when he writes of love and is cooking with gas. He suggests that Turgenev wanted a love that transcends time, that comes like a ray of light through a wall." I've read the review twice now and still don't know if, as a casual reader, I would want to read the book or not. Is this what reviews are coming to? I sure hope not.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on February 21, 2005 2:05 PM.

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