Paris in the Present Tense by Mark Helprin
What’s it about?
This is a novel about looking back at your life. Jules Lacour lives in Paris. He is a cellist, widower, veteran of the Algerian war, and a child of the Holocaust. He finds himself aging, alone, and with a quest. He wants desperately to help his only daughter Catherine and his young grandson Luc. Luc has leukemia and Jules would like to help get the family out of Paris and to better medical care. Jules Lacour is so interesting!
What did it make me think about?
Aging, love, fidelity, racism, and friendship.
Should I read it?
This is a good novel, but not a great novel, and this is a shame because Jules is an amazing character! I found the story sometimes became bogged down by too many words. Mark Helprin writes beautifully- some passages take your breath away- but too many words can get in the way of greatness.
“ You may not understand this until you’re much older, but to people of my age it’s a given, if one will take it, that things become a once more beautiful, more intense, and more inexplicable. You learn to see with your emotions and feel with your reason.”
If you like this try-
*How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Moshin Hamid
*Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
*The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise by Julia Stuart
some favorites of the last decade
best of winter 2020
best of summer/fall 2019
best of winter/spring 2019
best of summer/ fall 2018
best of winter/spring 2017-18
best of spring/summer 2017
best of winter
best of summer 2014
last spring favorites
on my nightstand
edge of your seat
― Charles William Eliot
3 to 4- I found some aspect of this book redeeming but would not recommend it.
5 to 6- I really enjoyed something about this book (characters, plot, meaning etc.) but it was uneven. Some aspects were stronger than others.
7 to 8- It was a good book. I liked lots of aspects of this book. I would recommend it.
9 to 10- I was sorry to turn the last page. I highly recommend this book!