Monday, 28 June 2010

Paris memories

Summer has me thinking about Paris, and had me reading the latest book by Paul Auster, Invisible, which is partly set there. What caught me back for a moment is that the main character, student Adam Walker, settles into the streets I've always seen as my favourite in the city, from when I too was a student.

Walker books himself into a decrepit, crumbling hotel 'on the rue Mazarine in the sixth arrondissement, not far from the Odéon metro station on the Boulevard Saint-Germain'. The Hôtel du Sud is 'a historic structure, erected in the seventeenth century, he thinks ,' much like the place I love to stay when I visit. Another Invisible character lives in a chambre de bonne, as a friend did overlooking the Danton on carrefour de l'Odéon.

Soon, Walker is to be found 'sitting at an outdoor café on the place Saint-André des Arts, nursing a glass of beer and writing in a small notebook. It is six o'clock in the evening, the end of another workday and now that Walker has begun to settle into the rhythms of Paris, he understands that this is probably the city's most inspiriting hour...'

I'm not sure about this word 'inspiriting' - however, as is typical with Auster, it turns out that some of the narrative is a fiction, within fiction, 'but Paris is Paris. Paris alone is real.'

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