It wasn't idyllic, not even close to romantic but Adam Gopnik's account of his Paris life seemed more affecting and pleasurable than any travel books I have read about this city.
He sweeps the dreamy curtains aside and presents to us a Paris, not a city of love and not a city of dreams but, an everyday Paris, where you can really see yourself breathing and living in it.
For half a decade, moving from New York, he and his wife along with their son lived the Parisian life trying to find their bearings on its intricate web. Gopnik's eloquence shows through on his writing with its sense of timelessness. Family and domesticity aside, he paints a subtle picture of a nostalgic Paris in the last years of twentieth century.
Being a journalist, his essays are tinged with certain depths of field, scratching the surface of the usual tourist portrait, delving to the socio-cultural and even the political commentary. He speaks with intimacy of ordinary things at the same time of matters in grander scale that doesn't overwhelm.
It took me a long time to finish it. As it is a collection of writings, it afforded me to put it down once in a while from one essay to another. It flits from light to heavy reading and though there are some funny and interesting sentiments (like if we're to pin it down really, the move was almost to avoid Barney and friends, the ultimate influence in American television) I feel keenly the missing vibrancy. In a way it feels like Gopnik writes about a fading Paris of his mind which would explain the wistful tone.
Yet, it is the closest I'll get to have to a guidebook on living there without waxing poetic, without coated charms. My only hint of regret is that I had hoped they could have stayed.
" 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...."
Title: Paris to the Moon
Author: Adam Gopnik
Genre: Travel, Memoir
Publisher: Random House
Rating: ♨♨♨ 1/2 (3 and half cups - Gopnik makes mundane things fascinating to read. Sentimental with a sense of realism.)