Allan Massie

Promenades

Footprints in Paris: A Few Streets, A Few Lives

By

Chatto & Windus 336pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

Gillian Tindall’s very enjoyable new book traces the associations of various members of her family with the old Latin Quarter of Paris. The story begins with her great-great-grandfather, Arthur Jacob, an Edinburgh-educated surgeon from Dublin, who walked from Scotland to Paris in 1814 – the year of Napoleon’s defeat and exile to Elba – and ends with herself, though she eschews the first person and writes of ‘Julia’ as a character to be observed and commented on. There is a medical theme to the book, for her grandfather, Bertie Tindall (who married Blanche Jacob, Arthur’s granddaughter), became a publisher specialising in medical books and had a long connection with a Parisian firm. The medical theme explains the emphasis on these ‘few streets’, for the teaching hospitals of Paris were located on the Left Bank.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,