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
No. Too much predictable romance and not enough coherent story. In this one, Rutherford "tells" too much of political and social goings on through a pedantic adults to children in museum visits or verbal arguments between political opposites. Historical fiction should transport you to a time, not tell you about it. That's what textbooks are for.
I would have appreciated the whole thing more if it had been more linear. It jumped back and forth between generations and was thus, confusing. Not familiar with french names, I found it difficult to follow. Therefore, I didn't have a character to love through most of it. I did connect with Tomas and was sad to see Luc become such a sociopath.
I will always enjoy historical fiction. This doesn't even put me off Rutherford...he's written too many other good ones.It just didn't measure up to his usual standard.
Most of the performance was good, but the elderly voices were much too shrill. Characters that the author 'doesn't like' were also too much of a caricature. The reader does however, have quite a range.
Any historical piece lends itself to film, but most of the French actors I know are too old to play most of the parts.
Not up to Rutherford's usual standard.
Make it shorter
It was not nearly as good as London.
Jean did fine, no problem on the reading.
I would use any other narrator. She should be reading to first graders. I'm trying to get past her boring delivery with varying British and French accents..it's like she's impressed that she actually can do French pronunciations just loses the expression of the passage. I have really enjoyed Laurie R. King and I am hoping her writing will overcome this narrator!
The novel gave me the entire history of Paris in accessible form. It was easy to listen.However, the plots and characters were clearly contrived to just happen to be in situ at every conceivable historical moment - from the Revolution to Impressionism. The characters were wooden and the writing style clunky.
I might because I like really long novels to listen to while I quilt and knit. But the bad writing turns me off, so not soon.
Jean Gilpin sounded stilted, although the french pronunciation was excellent. I would have preferred Simon Vance, Malcolm Hillgartner, or Elizabeth Peters for example.
Rutherfurd packed it all in, but it sounded like he took a history outline from an encyclopedia and built a novel around it. He is definitely NOT as skilled an historical autor as Patrick O'Brian
I listen to Audible books durin my hourlong commute to work!
Yes. Very interesting to view history in this way, one place and travel down the years through several families.
Yes. So far I have read them all!
Different voices anda French accent
Let's just have a banquet!
Professional audio producer, interested in any story well told.
This Rutherford tome seriously needed an editor. Cliché catch phrases are repeated pointlessly. Following the characters is difficult due to the chronology jumps, but in fact so few of them are sympathetic it doesn't matter anyway. It really felt more like notes for a novel that some rookie editor was too intimated by to properly sharpen. There was a lot of interesting Paris history but it was so overpowered by the heavy-handed narrative lines and reams of exposition masked in parental lecturing that it felt like one of those didactic French museum tours where you aren't allowed to ask any questions of the guide. There were many interesting story nuggets and scenes but the overall effect is more of a patched-up hobo sweater than an artistically-assembled quilt.
I will think twice about buying future Rutherford although I loved earlier works.
The descriptions of the King and his halitosis was about the only comic relief in the entire long story; the tragedy at M. Eiffel's tower was very engaging.
The medieval country maiden taking a lover seemed entirely preposterous and anachronistic.
I started out excited and enthusiastic about this book because I live part-time in France. I was so disappointed in this one, I almost didn't finish it.
Nope--I'm done. Used to LOVE Rutherfurd, but this was bad.
Terribly uninteresting characters
The only part that strikes me as interesting was the interaction between brothers when one realizes the other is a murderer and helps hide a body.
Don't know. I'd certainly flesh most of them out enough to make their actions/reactions and decisions make some sense.
What a letdown. I've read several of Rutherford's earlier books and was completely captivated. This effort strikes me as just phoning it in. There are a lot of characters in his work to keep track of. That's not a problem if the characters are developed to the point that there's something memorable about them, but this story is a series of identically anonymous characters that are used by the author to deliver a dry history lesson under the guise of characters educating various children and strangers. I'm a history lover, and enjoy even history texts. But this book didn't work as either. It wasn't interesting enough to hold my interest as a novel--thoughts of "why would they do that?" intruded constantly and there was no flow. And it failed as a history text in that the insertion of the dull characters just chopped up the facts. It was awful enough that I'm now soured and wouldn't waste my time/money on Rutherford again.
People who want a sweeping, once-over-lightly history in an easy-to-take format
Sarum was much better, much more interesting and historically rich
Great pronunciation switching between English and French words, adept use of multiple voices.
The book was not boring to listen to, just shallow.
This book transported me to Paris, without the cost and the cigarette smoke! I've been humming La Vie en Rose, checking out musette music and looking up the Paris locales on the internet. I'm also wondering what books would be a good follow-up to this and I've had a look at reading lists online.
That being said, I do agree with what some others have said, that the characters were 2 dimensional and it jumped around too much at times. Still, it was a great read and the tidbits you learn about people and places are worth it.
My two cents says don't worry about the time line skipping around. I began to listen full of trepidation because of the reviews that mentioned the moving time line. Because of those reviews, the beginning of the book was stressful for me because I was too worried about keeping track of people and getting lost. However, I discovered that it worked and the stories wove together like a piece of tapestry. Just relax, and let the story unfold and let Paris come to life. The only negative is that you'd better prepare to loose some time to this one as it is very hard to stop. You may find yourself making up excuses that require you to turn the book back on or miss a nights sleep.
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