Paris: Biography of a City by Colin Jones; The White Cities: Report From France 1925-39 by Joseph Roth - review by Frank Fairfield

Frank Fairfield

Street History

Paris: Biography of a City


Allen Lane The Penguin Press 642pp £25 order from our bookshop

The White Cities: Report From France 1925-39


Granta Books 304pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

'If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast.' The words, dripping with aching, hopeless nostalgia, are those of Ernest Hemingway, writing, in his shrunken, diminished decrepitude, of his youth in the city of light, when, with his first wife and first child, 'we were very young and very happy'.

Despite the sentimentality, there is truth in Hemingway's elegiac encomium, for foreigners who visit or reside in Paris, however briefly, tend to take with them, when they leave, an image of the city, composed of crowded and sensual impressions: the hoot just before the Metro doors slam; the smell of

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