Paris by Edward Rutherfurd


Paris is one very good 500 page story with a bunch of filler to pad it out. The book is about Paris- the city of light. The history of Paris is told through the eyes of five families over a period of 700 years. The book features two parallel story lines. These story lines are intertwined to compare and contrast the theme of bad government. France has had them all: Monarchy, Communism, Fascism, and the occasional Democracy. Unfortunately for France, they’ve never had any decent government. Fortunately, France is a rich country and has weathered a lot of history.
Paris’s motto: ” Whatever the storm, the ship sails on.”
It seems the history of France is bad government that spills over to their neighbors who push them back in the right direction usually at gun point.
Rutherfurd’s ‘Paris‘ brims with historical detail. It is intellectually interesting and the reader gets to enjoy Rutherfurd’s storytelling. If I were to reread ‘Paris‘ I would re-sequence the chapters in chronological order.

809 pages

Excerpts From Paris

Many people come to France and see it from outside, but by getting to know a family, I’ve already learned far more about France than most people do.” – location 8058-59

History may or may not remember the recent French presidents, but it’s going to remember the Impressionists, and the Ballets Russes, and Stravinsky, and Picasso I suspect, all together. So what will Paris be? The memory of all those wonderful things. We remember Napoleon, the Corsican, and Eiffel, who was Alsatian, and most of us also remember that Ben Franklin lived here. That’s Paris.” He grinned. “Paris became an international city, so now it belongs to all of us. Everyone in the world.” – location 11524-28

“Stravinsky’s here,” said Hemingway. “What more do you want?”
“I want jazz,” said Frank. “I want all that fresh rhythm and excitement and improvisation of jazz. That’s in New York. And by the way,” he turned to Claire, “I know London theater has the best tradition in the world, but amazing things are happening in New York now. Eugene O’Neill will have five plays running on Broadway this season.” – location 11532-35

Gone were the pagan gods of the old Roman calendar, and in their place, the seasons of the year. Winter thus contained the month of snow: Nivose. Autumn had Brumaire, the month of mists. Spring contained months of germination and flowers: Germinal and Floreal. Summer boasted months of harvest and heat: Messidor and Thermidor. – location 12417-20


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