Saturday, August 17, 2013
Review of "Paris - The Novel" by Edward Rutherford
I have become a big fan of the writings of Edward Rutherford. I first discovered him in reading "Sarum," then "Ruska" and "London" before devouring his new novel, "Paris." His meticulous research, his clever weaving together of centuries worth family histories from all social classes and his distinct literary style make the publication of each new work an anticipated event.
I love Paris and know it reasonably well, but I learned a great deal of the hidden history in following the fortunes and misfortunes of several generations of members of the de Cynge, LeSourd, Gascon, and Blanchard families, et al. Several historical figures are interwoven into the fictional lives of these clans, including Napoleon, Robespierre, Messr. Eiffel, Monet, Hemingway, Mlle. Josephine Baker and many other cameos.
The river Seine and the bridges that span the stream figure prominently in the narrative. Rutherford seems to be saying that just as the river flows through the city as it has for unknown eons, so there runs a thread of connection from generation to generation - a common humanity that transcends class, economic condition, political persuasion, occupation or lack thereof. I came to care about each character and whatever fate might await them. At the same time, I came to appreciate the city even more than before, and cannot wait to return and walk its boulevards and explore its galleries and cemeteries.
Enjoy! Amusez-vous bien!