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Recipe for a millennial novel about twentysomethings living abroad: Take two couples and combine with equal parts desperation and languid slacking. Gently blend with just a pinch of romance. Actually, on second thought, just dump a whole lot of sex into the pot and bring to a boil. Sprinkle with lengthy discussions about the merits of particular movies, directors, etc. Finally, just add drugs. Ready to serve!
Geoff Dyer's Paris Trance is full of these ingredients. Luke and Alex are Englishmen living in Paris, spending their days packing books in a warehouse and spending their free time playing football and quoting sections of dialogue from Blade Runner. Soon they hook up with their respective mates--Luke with Nicole, Alex with Sahra--and proceed to party heavily.
What distinguishes this novel from its hip brethren is its ability to evoke a sense of coziness with these expatriates, to the point where their idle chitchat seems utterly familiar, if benign. Here's some of the loopy, go-nowhere dialogue with which Dyer fills their mouths:
"I can't imagine not being with him, either," said Nicole. "But I can imagine him not being with me--but I can't imagine him being with anyone else. Whereas although I can't imagine me not being with him, I can imagine me being with someone else. Does that make sense? I'm not sure I followed it myself."Neither are we. But that's beside the point. Paris Trance succeeds and fails on its own set of criteria--how to capture a moment in time and preserve a feeling within it. In this case the feeling is a dreamy, warm one. --Ryan Boudinot --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Whatever makes events into a story is almost entirely missing from what follows," claims the narrator of this alluring pseudo-memoir of a blissful interlude lost and remembered. Fashionable fin-de-si?cle lack of faith in the cohesion of experience or the ability of language to contain it detracts nothing from the lyrical intelligence of Dyer's (Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D.H. Lawrence) wittily British "story" of two men playing expat in ParisAone of whom, Alex, is the unstated narrator, though he refers to himself in the third person. The story is this: 27-year-old Luke Barnes has left England for Paris in order to write a novel, but life overtakes his plans. He finds a friend in Alex, who shares his fascination with filmAa medium with the capacity, like music, to repeat itself endlessly. Luke meets and falls in love with Nicole, a beautiful Yugoslavian finishing her studies in Paris; Alex's partner is Sahra, an interpreter also new to the city. The two couples spend their time in search of the ultimate experience, the eternal "now." They vacation together, experiment with sex and drugs and go to dance clubs where the trance-like music prescribes "no distance or direction." Inevitably, ecstasy loses its edge, and as if compelled to enact the ending of one of his beloved films, Luke moves away. When Alex encounters him years later, Luke has embraced a lonely anonymity. The book ends not with this hopeless finality, though, but with the description of a rapturous, timeless afternoon by the sea enjoyed by the four lovers in their heyday. Thus, by writing the novel that Luke should have written, Alex succeeds, to an extent, in conquering time, in giving himself "the chance to rearrange, alter, change; to make things end differently." Hypnotic and evocative, this complicated novel is a superb re-creation of an idyllic time, the dreamy druggy Eden of golden youth. (May) in criticism.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I'm hoping this is the author's first book. From the jacket descriptions and the subject matter I thought this would be a sure winner just to put me in the mood of Paris in the... Read morePublished on Oct. 27 2003 by Bryan Todd Whitefield
I thought this book was very well written. It kept my attention as many don't. All-in-all a very good read.Published on July 14 2001 by Sean M Sloane