When Edmund White moved to Paris in 1983, leaving New York City in the midst of the AIDS crisis, he was 43 years old, couldn’t speak French, and only knew two people in the entire city. But in middle age, he discovered the new anxieties and pleasures of mastering a new culture. When he left 15 years later to take a teaching position in the U.S., he was fluent enough to broadcast on French radio and TV, and in his work as a journalist, he’d made the acquaintance of everyone from Yves Saint Laurent to Catherine Deneuve to Michel Foucault. He’d also developed a close friendship with an older woman, Marie-Claude, through which he’d come to understand French life and culture in a deeper way. The audiobook’s title evokes the Parisian landscape in the eternal mists and the half-light, the serenity of the city compared to the New York White had known (and vividly recalled in City Boy). White fell headily in love with the city and its culture: both intoxicated and intellectually stimulated. He became the definitive biographer of Jean Genet; he wrote lives of Marcel Proust and Arthur Rimbaud; and he became a recipient of the French Order of Arts and Letters. Inside a Pearl recalls those fertile years for White. It’s a memoir which gossips and ruminates, and offers a brilliant examination of a city and a culture eternally imbued with an aura of enchantment.
If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?
I bought this book having lived in France and have read Edmond White before. This book is full of gossip and uneventful sex encounters. So, anyone who likes "Hello" magazine or "Closer" may enjoy it.
Has Inside a Pearl put you off other books in this genre?
No. But it has resigned me to never buy an audio book by this narrator and this author.
Would you be willing to try another one of Robert Blumenfeld’s performances?
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Frustration. Why oh why did they use this narrator?
Any additional comments?
If you can tolerate this audio book, there are some interesting comments about French culture and dialogue that may help if you are thinking of a life in France.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Who would have thought Edmund White would be tiresome? I didn't believe other reviewers, but indeed I should have.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful