From the grand master of the historical novel comes a dazzling, epic portrait of the City of Light.
Internationally best-selling author Edward Rutherfurd has enchanted millions of readers with his sweeping, multigenerational dramas that illuminate the great achievements and travails throughout history. In this breathtaking saga of love, war, art, and intrigue, Rutherfurd has set his sights on the most magnificent city in the world: Paris.
Moving back and forth in time across centuries, the story unfolds through intimate and vivid tales of self-discovery, divided loyalties, passion, and long-kept secrets of characters both fictional and real, all set against the backdrop of the glorious city - from the building of Notre Dame to the dangerous machinations of Cardinal Richlieu; from the glittering court of Versailles to the violence of the French Revolution and the Paris Commune; from the hedonism of the Belle Époque, the heyday of the impressionists, to the tragedy of the First World War; from the 1920s when the writers of the Lost Generation could be found drinking at Les Deux Magots to the Nazi occupation, the heroic efforts of the French Resistance, and the 1968 student revolt.
With his unrivaled blend of impeccable research and narrative verve, Rutherfurd weaves an extraordinary narrative tapestry that captures all the glory of Paris. More richly detailed, more thrilling, and more romantic then anything Rutherfurd has written before, Paris: The Novel wonderfully illuminates hundreds of years in the City of Light and Love and brings the sights, scents, and tastes of Paris to sumptuous life.
©2013 Edward Rutherfurd (P)2013 Random House Audio
The massive sweep of history about this world-class metropolis is well covered in this novel. All the epic moments in history through which Paris experienced major upheaval and change are covered. Very informative. As with his other novels of a place, the main character, "Paris" is a living "being" formed by the humans who dwell within it and wander through it.
Having characters describe expositional details is a bit stilted. I love history, but the dialogs in which a character explains the vision or engineering behind a building or history of some notable location, the character basically loses their own voice and becomes the voice of the narrator. People don't generally talk like this (expository dialog). Every once in a while it can be helpful in a novel, but whole sections in which an character describes some recent or past event with incredible accuracy seems artificial. I enjoyed the way he chose to tell the story by jumping forward and backward through time. I have read his books "Sarum", "Russka", "London", and "The New Forest" which all move linearly from past to present. In this book, he jumps back and forth, which adds some interesting twists and turns to the story line.
The performer delivers the dialog in ways that are unique to her interpretation. When I read a book, the voices of the characters do not have the depth that I get when I listen to an audiobook. Gilpin does a good job covering the voices of the huge sweep of characters in the novel. Sometimes her young adult male characters sound too young, but overall, she has a decent range of voices and accents to add valuable color to the dialog and to avoid confusion as to which character is speaking.
This is not a book to listen to in a distracted environment. The year of the given chapter is indicated in the first sentence, and if you are distracted for a few minutes during which this happens, you can easily become confused as to what is going on. Because this novel is a host to many characters with the same last name (following a family lineage), keeping track of who is from what time period and what has already happened and what will happen (that you've already heard).
This is by far the longest book I've listened to, but once I got into it I loved how long I got to enjoy it. I am currently living in Paris so I read it while strolling up and down the exact streets the book was based on. The story is complex because of the many generations of characters and families intersecting, but I was blown away by the creativity with which Rutherford pulled it off. Really enjoyed the narrators performance as well, it's something you would lose if I'd just been reading the book. Definitely recommend it for those who are spending a significant amount of time in Paris, or those who are as fascinated by the city as I am!
I LOVED the narrator. Excellent voice work. The story was lovely- did a beautiful job of reminding one of French history while allowing one to learn about works of art, wars, and movements through the eyes of (fictional) Frenchmen of various classes. Fascinating, enjoyable listen!
Listening to this book was a wonderful glimpse into life and history of this fascinating city. I listened to it just before travelling to France and Paris and completely enhanced my visit. If you love history without just the dry facts, I would recommend this book. Also great to have it read to me, as I have other Rutherford books and they take some time to sit and read. This was a treat
Memorable characters weave their way through the history of France. The fictional lives make historical events come alive and inspire me to look again at these events. I especially enjoyed the thread that connected these characters through out the story and how time was not linear in the telling so their connection bloomed like spring flowers. I will be reading it again
I've read some of the authors other books, so I was pretty sure what I was in for. It fulfilled my expectations.
My problem is that the narrator used such a heavy French accent on the proper names that I have no idea what she was saying. Other than that frequent annoyance, she was fine.
I felt like I was in Paris and didn't want the book to end. Having visited this great city, I was able to visualize many of the places. It was historical fiction at its best! The only thing I would have liked better is if the book proceeded completely chronologically..
Jean Gilpin is the best narrator EVER!
honestly I'm not sure how much they paid her to read this very very long but beautiful book, but she deserves more her narration alone makes the book worth listening to. her resources are boundless! she switches between accents with ease and narrates the story like a master storyteller. give her more work we would all be so lucky for it!
oh and by the way the book is great too!
Buy this book now! The sooner you start, the sooner you'll be listening to a fascinating, vibrant tale of four families set over 600 years in Paris. Rutherford, as always, has done his historical homework, weaving in back stories of famous figures, uprisings, wars and eras to such an extant you'll never look at France in the same way again. I'm a harsh critic of most books and narrators. This is at the top of my picks on Audible. Do yourself a favor and get it now.
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