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There are so many layers to Footprints in Paris, a history of the place itself, Parisian people and street life, a history of Gillian Freeman’s family and her own early life. Not for this author the broad brush approach, she works like a miniaturist building up detail upon detail so that as readers we feel the breath of the past she writes about so enchantingly in this and in her previous books.
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The House by the Thames: and the People Who Lived There by Gillian Tindall
This unique and intensely involving book evokes the texture and atmosphere of a hidden Paris which has survived against all the odds of time and chance. Gillian Tindall is well known for her ability to breathe a passionate life into the generations of those who have walked this earth before us. Here, using a handful of lives and a specific location to exemplify 200 years of history, she focuses on a few of the oldest streets in Paris' Latin Quarter. Her study shows how Paris has drawn into its magnetic field people who have variously found there education or enlightenment, a refuge or a secret garden, even a different identity. Half a dozen individuals, all related in some way, reveal a web of human feeling and experiences across two centuries. There is the young doctor who walked all the way from Edinburgh to Paris at the time of Napoleon's downfall; the self-made Victorian businessman who traded with the brash capital of the Second Empire; his reserved son who found in the old stones of Paris a refuge from his fraught childhood; Maud, the archetypal English spinster, who somehow managed to construct an alternative existence in Paris; and Julia, young and desperate, who found her own unlikely salvation there in a very different era. Readers will become familiar with the texture of the Left Bank - its network of streets, its hotels and courtyards, churches,hospices and bookshops. Here is the resonance of'Bohemia' with its students and artists, garrets and cafes, and 'Gay Paree' with its music halls and courtesans. Here is Marat murdered in his bath; Haussmann driving boulevards through medieval alleys in order to create the ideal city; chroniclers of Paris such as Zola, George du Maurier and Orwell. But featured far more than the famous are the unsung citizens for whom Gillian Tindall has such empathy.
Publication date: 07/05/2009
Publisher: Chatto & Windus an imprint of Vintage
|Publication date:||7th May 2009|
|Publisher:||Chatto & Windus an imprint of Vintage|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography,|
|Categories:||Social & cultural history, European history,|
Gillian Tindall is well known for the quality of her writing and the meticulous nature of her research. She is a master of miniaturist history, making a particular person or situation stand for a much larger picture. She began her career as a prize-winning novelist and has continued to publish fiction, but she has also staked out a particular territory in idiosyncratic non-fiction that is brilliantly evocative of place. Her books include The Fields Beneath: The History of One London Village; Celestine: Voices from a French Village; The Journey of Martin Nadaud; and The Man Who Drew London: Wenceslaus Hollar ...More About Gillian Tindall