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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of Winter's Tale and A Soldier of the Great War, Mark Helprin reveals a powerful, rapturous novel set in a present-day Paris caught between violent unrest and its well-known, inescapable glories.

Seventy-four-year-old Jules Lacour - a maître at Paris-Sorbonne, cellist, widower, veteran of the war in Algeria, and child of the Holocaust - must find a balance between his strong obligations to the past and the attractions and beauties of life and love in the present.

In the midst of what should be an effulgent time of life, with its days bright with music, family, and rowing on the Seine, Jules is confronted headlong and all at once by a series of challenges to his principles, livelihood, and home, forcing him to grapple with his complex past and find a way forward. He risks fraud to save his terminally ill infant grandson, matches wits with a renegade insurance investigator, is drawn into an act of savage violence, and falls deeply, excitingly in love with a young cellist who is a third his age. Against the backdrop of an exquisite and knowing vision of Paris and the way it can uniquely shape a life, he forges a denouement that is staggering in its humanity, elegance, and truth.

In the intoxicating beauty of its prose and emotional amplitude of its storytelling, Mark Helprin's Paris in the Present Tense is a soaring achievement, a deep, dizzying look at a life through the purifying lenses of art and memory.

©2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2017 Mark Helprin

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

Greatest living "novelist". Top 10 narrator.

Helprin is the only writer going who combines exquisite phrasing with exquisite and important thought, always within the construct of the classical novel form. There are writers who are great with phrasing, or rumination/philosophizing, or sometimes (but rarely) even both. But to be able to achieve both, and frequently, while staying within an important and compelling story, within the complete novel form.........that's a feat so rare that it's almost disheartening to read Helprin knowing that at 70, he may not have many/any left in him. God, I hope not.

Pinchot is brilliant performing multiple accents across mixed dialogs, all with the proper cadence, emphasis, and heart. It's worth the listen just to hear a Texan talking with a Parisian over dinner!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Beiutfully written

I enjoyed audible a great deal however I believe reading the written story would be a greater enjoyment. The author is extremely talented writer. In addition, the narrator is maybe the best I have experienced.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Incredible

An wonderfully beautiful book. Pinchot does it justice with his masterful narration. Helprin’s prose flows like poetry.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Helene
  • Washington Island, WI, United States
  • 10-16-17

Like a classic symphony

This is Helprin's best since A Winter's Tale. The story is multi layered, the writing positively lyrical, the characters so fully realized and accessible even on their uniqueness. I'll listen to this several more times and read the hard coy as well! Can't recommend it highly enough. If you love history, music, people in all their flaws, get this book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Keyah
  • Atlanta, GA USA
  • 11-03-17

Unfortunate use of a good accent

I'm writing this before I have finished listening because I'm not sure I can stand to finish it. I'll give it a bit more time and revise my review as necessary.

I have loved the performances on Audible since I started listening and especially look for anything set in Paris. The producer of this reading, however, has fallen into the trap of old B movies where characters who are meant to be speaking a language other than English with each other affect the accent of the language they are supposed to be speaking. While Pinchot's French accent is excellent, the silliness of two characters conversing in French-accented English is so distracting that I can't concentrate on the story they are recounting. And it begins with a seemingly endless conversation between the main character and a psychiatrist. It's like fingernails scraping a blackboard but I will try to hang in a little longer and report back if my opinion changes.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Beautifully written!

I loved everything about this book: the plot, characters, prose, and style! Bronson Pinchot was an excellent choice to read the book. This will break your heart even as it lifts it up!

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A great listening experience.

A very good book well read. It took a little while to get into. But eventually I got into the rhythm of the book and didn’t want to stop listening.