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A self-described "comic-sentimental essayist", Gopnik chose the romance of Paris in its particulars as his subject. Gopnik falls in unabashed love with what he calls Paris's commonplace civilisation--the cafés, the little shops, the ancient carousel in the park and the small, intricate experiences that happen in such settings. But Paris can also be a difficult city to love, particularly its pompous and abstract official culture with its parallel paper universe. The tension between these two sides of Paris and the country's general brooding over the decline of French dominance in the face of globalisation (haute couture, cooking and sex, as well as the economy, are running deficits) form the subtexts for these finely wrought and witty essays.
With his emphasis on the micro in the macro, Gopnik describes trying to get a Thanksgiving turkey delivered during a general strike and his struggle to find an apartment during a government scandal over favouritism in housing allocations. The essays alternate between reports of national and local events and accounts of expatriate family life, with an emphasis on "the trinity of late-century bourgeois obsessions: children and cooking and spectator sports, including the spectator sport of shopping." Gopnik describes some truly delicious moments, from the rites of Parisian haute couture, to the "occupation" of a local brasserie in protest of its purchase by a restaurant tycoon, to the birth of his daughter with the aid of a doctor in black jeans and a black silk shirt, open at the front. Gopnik makes terrific use of his status as an observer on the fringes of fashionable society to draw some deft comparisons between Paris and New York ("It is as if all American appliances dreamed of being cars while all French appliances dreamed of being telephones") and do some incisive philosophising on the nature of both. This is masterful reportage with a winning infusion of intelligence, intimacy and charm. --Lesley Reed
This book is sinfully boring. As a travel memoir, it fails to capture the reader's imagination, and if I'd read this before going to Paris it might have discouraged me from going... Read morePublished on Nov. 29 2012 by Danielle
Paris to the Moon follows the relationship of a new father with an old city. The book's anicdotes describe Parisians and the awkward curiosity that Americans have with the Gallic... Read morePublished on May 14 2004 by JM II
I enjoyed Gopnik's book, primarily due to the mixture of personal reflection and careful observation that make up these essays. Read morePublished on May 2 2004 by C. B Collins Jr.
If you enjoyed A. J. Liebling's Between Meals, An Appetite for Paris, you will probably enjoy this memoir of Paris.Published on April 21 2004
I too was suckered in by the praise this book received. In retrospect, I realize that the praise must have come from the author's boorish book critic friends and others so enamored... Read morePublished on April 9 2004
PARIS TO THE MOON is a wonderful book, that rare kind of book that leaves its readers feeling happy. (The title is explained in the first segment. Read morePublished on April 7 2004 by HeyJudy
This pretentious and narcissistic memoir may be useful if you are a member of the glitterati. Otherwise, look elsewhere for an authentic glimpse of Parisian life. Read morePublished on Dec 27 2003
Some where hidden behind all the name dropping and vainglorious details of fine wine and haut couture fashion shows, there's a boring story of a prententious American guy who comes... Read morePublished on Dec 22 2003
I've read many books about Americans in France since I am an American in France myself and this has got to be the worst. Read morePublished on Dec 1 2003