We’ll Never Have Paris



Edited by Andrew Gallix

Work by Max Porter, Chris Power, Owen Booth, Rosalind Jana, Jennifer Hodgson, S.J. Fowler, Greg Gerke, Jonathan Gibbs, Emily S. Cooper, Heidi James, Nathan Dragon, Wendy Erskine, Ashton Politanoff, Kathryn Scanlan, Utahna Faith, Tristan Foster, Sophie Mackintosh, Tomoé Hill, Yelena Moskovich, Donari Braxton, Susanna Crossman, Christiana Spens, Gavin James Bower, Joanna Walsh, Eley Williams, Julian Hanna, Richard Skinner, Richard Kovitch, David Collard, Jeremy Allen, Elsa Court, Niven Govinden, Adam Scovell, C.D. Rose, Laura Waddell, Nicholas Royle, Gerard Evans, Thom Cuell, Stewart Home, Anna Aslanyan, Natalie Ferris, Owen Hatherley, Tom Bradley, Andrew Gallix, Will Ashon, John Holten, Gerry Feehily, Dylan Trigg, Fernando Sdrigotti, Stuart Walton, Will Wiles, Tom McCarthy, Andrew Robert Hodgson, Lee Rourke, Will Self, Jo Mortimer, Cal Revely-Calder, Adam Roberts, Lauren Elkin, Susan Tomaselli, Steve Finbow, Cody Delistraity, H.P. Tinker, Russell Persson, David Hayden, Daniella Cascella, Adrian Grafe, Alex Pheby, Richard Marshall, Toby Litt, Andrew Hussey, Nicholas Rombes, Susana Medina, Isabel Waidner, Nicholas Blincoe, Evan Lavender-Smith, Jeffrey Zuckerman, Sam Jordison, Paul Ewen, Brian Dillon, Robert McLiam Wilson, Rob Doyle.


79 thoughts on “We’ll Never Have Paris


    “I loved that Magalie wrote to me, it only breaks my heart”…

    ….I sadly did not understand it all, as I have mainly lost the French that I used to read, at University, reading even wonderful Proust, as I did then in the 1960s, visiting Paris in 1967 for the first and last time. Lost it. Been downhill since then.
    Story read well, though. I think I grabbed at some imputed grillage on the way down … broke my fall, I hope. We shall see.

  2. FRENCH EXCHANGES by Chris Power

    “She is a fiction I’ve created by remembering, by forgetting, and by inventing what was forgotten.”

    An incantatory refrain, by prose means, of foreign exchange questions, why this, why that, who this, who that? Questions the narrator also makes of self-identity, too. Or is that me asking why I don’t like him – or her? Loyalty to a sallaD leaf? Cruelty to others who are already hard done by? I am still falling. Merde or Meudon?


    “We, too, would end up looking back on our missed chances, our failed and doomed romances, our youthful relevance. We, too, would ache with regret for our own lost Paris.”

    We’ll never have Paris…. I vaguely remember Clive James when he was a student in the 1960s on the University Challenge TV programme. I vaguely remember Paris in 1967, the year before 1968. As with the previous story’s French exchange this writer can’t remember everything, including the age of a sibling left alone on the Métro. Engaging insouciance re thoughts of encroaching self-age. He remembers being blinded by the eclipse, or blinded to Paris, or by Paris? And all the smoking, well, the smoking at least in old TV discussion programmes. I recently read a prophecy before it happened of Notre Flame here: https://admtoah.wordpress.com/745-2/#comment-341

    My previous review of a work by Owen Booth: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2018/07/15/best-british-short-stories-2018/#comment-13262

  4. ALWAYS FOURTEEN by Rosalind Jana

    “always fourteen. Always Paris,”

    A beautiful growing-pains self-portrait of being in Paris, not yet the person she now is, an exquisite enjambment, fourteen but, even so, more than a sonnet. Loved it.

  5. FREE MAN IN PARIS by Jennifer Hodgson

    “In the end I think the only way I would be able to speak French passably would be if someone could insert both of their hands inside my mouth and use their thumbs and their knuckles to completely reshape its cavity as though it were Play-Doh.”

    “Insouciance” is. A word used. Here. Words, too, like Playdoh as if forcing back a Wordplague where you need to disfigure the mouth as a method to prevent it, a method that I explicitly and incredibly encountered an hour ago here in a chance simultaneous gestalt review. I already used ‘insouciance’ in this overall review. This is an insouciant visit to Paris comparing it (wrongly) with West London and men honking your baguettes as if you are an old-fashioned car. I will never go to Paris again, I guess (I have let my passport expire and I am 71), so this book is my way of having Paris….my first and last visit being in 1967. The book’s title is not full of promise, though!

  6. LAISSE TOMBER by S.J. Fowler

    “, softly pushing his fingers into my face, as though they might disappear within my mouth, through my cheek.”

    That Wordplague again? This, subject to my critique, is another insouciant journey, this one through acne youth to sex-blood drinking adult, only in Paris, except the insouciance is described here as languid and insolent, if I recall correctly. Huysmans and Éluard references, too. Let fall? Yes, I am still falling downhill.

    “, whose criticism is not an enhancement of understanding,”

  7. PARIS DON’T BELONG TO US by Greg Gerke

    “, but everyone was there to look or be looked at.”

    Well, I spotted today a reference to a TLS review; so proud that I started reviewing this book in public first!

    This Gerke, meanwhile, is a precious tiny cup of coffee, and people preening themselves in Paris, in a highly satisfying prose style for me. Witty, insouciant, and, at times, deliciously self-goofy. A clearly rich textured prose about plain uniformity, a uniformity amid the perceived rich texture of Paris and its flighty ambiance, with others’ new shoes still wafting their newness.
    As to myself, I felt I was in Paris, albeit with no passport. Still falling.


    This is not a story. An essay on living up to Paris. Of Paris itself at a particular time. Self-deprecation as part of a Venn diagram with insouciance? Encounters and fins de siècle. Fins in the Grand bassin octagonal?

  9. THE AU PAIR by Emily S. Cooper

    “We never fucked. Even though it was Paris.”

    Free verse, or is it blank? Au Pair, ‘equal to’, become something else by Balzac? Here the ‘narrator’ visits an Au-Pair while the family being au-paired is away; the poem’s enjambment is like celibate ribs that bend away. A bit like being on Chesil Beach?

  10. FRENCH LESSONS by Heidi James

    “That I could choose a me.”

    The perfect conte, the perfect assonant body part, too, with tabs hidden. Read it and see. The eventually defiant gawky girl who spreads her wings, with Sapphic leanings, and outdoes those who once mentored her. The Facebook meetings. And the unmentionable man with meat in his fingers and her awful awful Dad she eventually meets. She never makes Paris, but the story about her made this book with Paris in its title. Seriously memorable story. Sometimes seedy, constructively so.

  11. SOME STANDARD PARADISE by Nathan Dragon

    “A place has its placeness, its repertoire of place-things: things you think about if you hear someone talking about some place.”

    The genius-loci in a name. The build up as gestalt of associations with that place. Here also in photographs, flashes in this book’s flash fiction. The way I can get to Paris without a passport. “…osmosising.” Standard practice.

  12. PARC DES PRINCES by Wendy Erskine

    “like in the car crash adverts, but only just a bit.”

    Aieee! Pushed possibly in the back, too, by a school bully on the bus. A schoolkid’s stream of consciousness, thinking of the lady French teacher, her sporadic replacement teacher, French football and implicit uncouth things. Not a stream so much as whiplash jolts along. Towards another osmotic Paris. The book itself? My name in the middle of this story’s title, meantime.


    “What were you watching? she asks me.
    A French movie, I tell her.”

    A movie about a jewel robbery, amid stoical or unexplained silence. Compared effectively, if obliquely, with a dinner party of two couples. With undercurrents unacknowledged by omniscience. I for one would not have chosen rosé or offered, as a guest, to do the washing up. Paris, I don’t think, was ever mentioned throughout. Ah, sorry, it starts with the words ‘Parisian Street.’ But the story does not take place in Paris. Fitting for this disarming book.

  14. MASTER FRAMER by Kathryn Scanlan

    “lithographic prints — playful, pandering Parisian street scenes —“

    I am like this story’s Master Framer, in all respects. Read it, those who know me, and see. My frames are my reviews. The vicarious and the pretentious. The eschatological and the scatological.

  15. TO DISTURB SO MANY CHARMS by Utahna Faith

    “She is eye.She is I.”

    So far I have read this incredibly poetic theme-and-variations of multi-subtitled prose only once. And I am reminded of the film Last Year at Marienbad. My bad?

  16. You can believe this or not, but it is true — by chance I was picked France yesterday as my team in a World Cup Women’s Football sweepstake run by a Facebook group that I am in! The first match is about to start…

  17. To sing four nil.

    TO SING by Tristan Foster

    “In the room the women come and go because what else is there to do.”

    A sense of a woman’s Proustian memories, poetic TS Eliot glances, once a singer in clubs, visiting Parisian art galleries, a different dress each night, “Because that is what we do.” A laissez-faire literary experience as a contrast to my excitement last night. Players to and fro. “Pont Neuf in the snow.”

  18. CATACOMBS by Sophie Mackintosh

    “, our money was going on bread and small glasses of jewel-dark wine.”

    A theme and variations of pondering upon queuing for the catacombs amid much rain, and what keeps us all afloat, even to undig ourselves. I have just been to a large city where it rained all week, with lots of wine, visiting a jewel workshop abandoned like the Marie Celeste, a derelict cemetery called Key Hill and a Coffin Works. Seems today in hindsight utterly synchronous with the experience in this prose work.

    “The rain would leak into the earth of the city…”

  19. PILGRIMAGE by Tomoé Hill

    ‘wet cling’, wet clit, this story of self-pleasuring, self-cummings and goings, we’ll never have, yet ever have orgasm, les halles, to the rhythm of the métro, horla, hawler…the story in this book that you will remember most reading…so far.

  20. MARLENE OR NUMBER 161 by Yelena Moskovich

    “MARLENE! The man-from-the-back yells. Your phone’s ringing! You left it on top of the cash register. You’re lucky no one stole it. Oh I don’t think anyone’d steal it… It’s an iPhone, Marlene!”

    I am tiny-typing this on my iPhone notebook, as it happens. But that is beside the point of this story with a footnoted title. The impressions of MARLENE in caps, a recitation, an incantation that has notes spreading outwards, about the clothes she wears, the nature of her ex and their ‘son’, the Albanian connections of the Parisian café where she works with the man from the back, the cosmopolitan ambiance that the cafe’s TV helps, and what happens next that would spoil any story should I divulge it before you read it. The Albanian poetry like Aragon’s, notwithstanding. Or did I dream the Aragon connection or miscount the stars? A wonderful story.

  21. YULIA by Donari Braxton

    “That day, she’d have the steak, where I’d eat mostly bread, between our dates, to afford the lies that I’d told.”

    Like the lies that this is an alternate world story where his looking at Notre Dame becomes looking at Eiffel Tower instead? Or a futurist historic vision of German tanks to get his Jewishness? Fundamentally, though, a successfully oblique portrait of a tactile relationship, with alternating mmms, that involves cleaning up the penis after sex, tactile words, clothes and a bakery backstory, all with a kinship memorability to the Tomoé Hill. And the contiguous Marlene?

  22. WEAR THE LACE by Susanna Crossman

    “She was trapped in the outline of her skin.”1

    An engaging story of a car breaking down and Charlotte a road-dirty girl, an architecture student, with haversack, finds a temporary stay with another girl, a real Parisienne, the latter’s lingerie like soft architecture in her drawer. One life in chance interface with another life and its circumstances, with thoughtful repercussions of thought and future destiny.
    Proust and lingerie, what’s not to like?

    1 Cf my review yesterday of SISTERS by Brian Evenson here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2019/06/14/song-for-the-unraveling-of-the-world-brian-evenson/#comment-16031

  23. THE BLUES, THE YELLOW SHEETS by Christiana Spens

    “I continued to not get up.”

    A self’s portrait of uneasy lassitude, an eschatology of emptiness, while trying to keep up one’s French…
    I don’t think this narrator is as old as me, but certainly acts like it. I felt utterly in tune with it. Except for the pills. And I lost my French yonks ago. Loathe supermarkets, though.

    “Can’t get the sheets straight enough.”

  24. LIVING WITHOUT by Gavin James Bower

    “A perfect sentence.”

    From an imperfect conscientiously perfectible narrator who never fulfils the true trope of his aspirations, that it should not be a trope at all, amid bereavements such as those relating to the break-up with his now ex girl friend, his now dead dad and the alcohol that keeps nagging at him to resurrect in doses. Uneasy lassitude in a Parisian sublet seems the only answer. The off-centre story itself is ever perfectible – which I hope it takes as a critical compliment.

  25. THE HANGED MAN by Joanna Walsh

    “The god of skylights.”

    Or of redactions 4E7DA204-37CA-45B4-AEB6-E09038A2FA8A Merleau-Ponty sounding like a tourist sight 4E7DA204-37CA-45B4-AEB6-E09038A2FA8A phenomenology of cemeteries 4E7DA204-37CA-45B4-AEB6-E09038A2FA8A needing a man 4E7DA204-37CA-45B4-AEB6-E09038A2FA8A lifting corpses before they are dead 4E7DA204-37CA-45B4-AEB6-E09038A2FA8A we’ll never have 4E7DA204-37CA-45B4-AEB6-E09038A2FA8A.

  26. OF PÈRE LACHAISE, ON BUSINESS by Eley Williams

    “…as I smelt the air and hopped from grave to grave charting their progress.”

    Rainy cemetery, and I can’t resist cross-referencing this noisy squeaky text of a story with Quentin S. Crisp’s novel GRAVES by chance concurrently being reviewed in parallel and all its graveyard shenanigans to match those here. This story is about the googling to stay in a Princess’s mausoleum with a ‘business’ of ferrets, stoats and polecats carved on its outside, to stay in it for a year to earn a legacy. No intestate testicles, though. No prostate ones, either. Definitely no redactions. Mentions Stein, Éluard, Apollinaire, as a bonus. Chopin, too. Or did I dream that last one?

    My review of this author’s SWATCH: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2018/07/15/best-british-short-stories-2018/#comment-13325


    “Paris is Wilde’s tomb in Père Lachaise: […] — now it sits encased in glass to keep out the necrophilic…”

    Twenty chapters in this short short, and Paris never ends – even in today’s newsworthy sweltering heat, I guess. A provoking and evocative portrait of Paris, comparing its erstwhile analog living to today’s digital. Old lovers who still deem themselves to be your current lovers. Bastille Day or Notre Flame day?

    “— Paris exhausts him!”


    “The nights are the worst. Sleeping on the hot streets and blocks of stone and then, when the vicious sun rises yet again, the light bounces off them, blinding me, burning me. There’s no escape. The sun is a monster…”

    Coincidence, indeed. With arrondissements to match those in the previous story. Here, an evocative cinematic montage, where gestalt real-time reviewing comes into its own, perhaps for the first time. See if you can tell each narrator from the other. Or are they all the same one?

  29. PARIS AT 24 FRAMES A SECOND by Richard Kovitch

    “And yet Paris still feels immediate to me — intimate even. How is this possible?”

    This author’s experience of Paris seems at least slightly similar to mine, as I adumbrated at the start of this review. So I have much empathy with his portrait of it through news items and cinematic images, a cinematic feel seeped into from the previous story. He could now add one more visual ingredient, I guess, the recent Notre Dame Flame and today’s natural flame of the sun. Or man’s unnatural flame of ignorance?

  30. THE PAST IS A FOREIGN CITY by David Collard

    “As a sedentary flâneur I’d watch four or five films a day,…”

    A brilliant portrait of visiting pre-digital Paris in the 1980s just for the cinemas, the nouvelle vague, and I was there literally for the first time as a result of reading this work, with all the smoking, smells and empathy with the constructive longueurs of the films, beyond Hitchcock’s ken. As to the life-timescale of the semaine, if not the Seine or insane, I am almost beyond Dimanche itself, but as the work itself says: “If that doesn’t snag your interest you won’t have read this far.” Switch ‘read’ for ‘reached’ there, or do I mean vice versa? Switch BFIPlayer on Amazon Prime for death? Switch Hartley for an LP?

  31. WAITING FOR GODARD by Jeremy Allen

    “— two beautiful, androgynous Jedwardians with exquisite cheekbones and curly blond quiffs.”

    A surfing upon the Nouvelle Vague, and its repercussions in 1968 Paris and beyond. I watched Marienbad very recently, I have always liked Éric Rohmer. I think I will go surfing myself in a post-digital world as a result of the heads up here. But never so pungent, indeed, never so never so.

  32. PARIS BELONGS TO US by Elsa Court

    “For a long time, it felt like my Paris and my dad’s would never intersect.”

    A defiant title for this book, a woman, self styled flâneuse, her work about her relationships with her Dad’s view of Charles de Gaulle and the latter’s view of France’s gender compared to that of Paris, and with her Dad per se as he has a dangerous operation for cancer, memories of his walks with him when she was teenager, and with a new wave film to help this book accept her presence, to obviate her defiance to the book’s overall title, and with “the elusive everyday” of Paris.
    Cf a different ‘everyday’ here by another author accepted to be in this book: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/everyday-lee-rourke/

    “, the photographer’s shadow on a holiday snapshot.”

  33. AFTER AGNÈS by Niven Govinden

    “During my regular trips to Paris I was in the habit of photographing everything, from the food on my plate to the graffiti…”

    Polaroids, then. But even more so everyone does everyday post-digital, I guess A two pager jamming on Agnès Varda, and that name has appeared before in this book, I am sure. And more. Bringing us back to daguerreotypes…
    Cross-reflections of such scenes taken in worldwide places and times. Towards gestalt?

    My first snapshot of this author for such a gestalt : https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2018/02/17/best-british-short-stories-2017/#comment-11748


    “Dinner was on me for the foreseeable.”

    Another two-pager, this one about an artist called Chris Marker, Cheshire Cat smiles and the comfortable ease of Paris sitting with the avant garde.

  35. HULOT SUR LA JETÉE by C.D. Rose

    “There are many ways of not going to Paris. I have to do it by reading books, looking at photographs, listening to songs, and watching films.”

    …a perfect chime against this book, one that has its alternate not-book. Just as the protagonist’s Marker (the Marker from the previous story) moves along a turning-gauge of Hulot in Tati’s Playtime. Having once been to Paris and also to not-Paris, via arrival at different airports, or Never Paris At All. This story lends a huge Marker itself to this book. Possibly my favourite so far. Having not not-visited Paris ONCE. Here below is me once trying to emulate Monsieur Hulot a few years ago, but not in Paris. Never in Paris. The circle squared by a piss. And an imaginary city worthy of John Howard.

    My previous encounter with this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2018/07/15/best-british-short-stories-2018/#comment-13305

  36. PROPS by Laura Waddell

    Strike up the wordplay! Props and their propster, for a filmed ad advertising sauce and exploding spahetti. Props and a pink balloon pops. A willy or just more culinary messes, and I somehow loved this bubbling hilarity, with Paris implicated, too.

  37. MUSIC FOR FRENCH FILMS by Nicholas Royle

    “I collect dying media. (I’m not interested in streaming. My life already feels streamed.)”

    Right royally worthy of the Royle canon, I’d say. This streaming review halts at this particular discrete track in the book, ripped out like a CD track. As we follow the self-aware protagonist as narrator becoming disturbingly unaware of his own behaviour when latching on to a woman’s glib written invitationary presumption of handwriting to visit her in Paris after working with him as waiters in some pizza props restaurant in London, over the streaming of the years, with discrete meeting points or intrusions, all played to the tune of a partly redacted LP (as CD) of jazz. He’ll probably find himself eventually in her bed? Having come back from shopping for bread.

    My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/14748-2/

  38. PARIS, YOU AND ME by Gerard Evans

    “Can you be in love without meeting someone? Yes, of course you can.”

    And can you also have the impossible! This book with its overall title containing a touching story like this one where Paris’s Promise of Romance is fulfilled. Paris is at last ‘had’ against all the odds of that nagging ‘never’. There is always one exception that proves the rule, otherwise. The otherwise rule of one’s middle age. And the arbitrary switches of destination along the way.


    Moi je suis l’Antéchrist, moi je suis l’anarchiste — a far better rhyme in French.”

    Why the capital A when the christ is in lower case, I ask. The song by the Pistols’ Sex, and we learn documentarily and attritionally of McClaren’s various attempts to link the Paris 1968 anarchy to other years in London and New York. A sort of bridge between alternate worlds? With colourful details of and quotes from real people in such a speriodic éclat. It even mentions “post-Brexit” at the end. I am not sure when this was written but, talking about flogging dead horses, will it EVER be post-Brexit. Post-Referendum, yes, but Post-BREXIT?

  40. PARIS DOES NOT EXIST by Stewart Home

    I love the title, but most of this punk scene etc. is over my head. Well, perhaps under it, as I am amazed how erstwhile punks seem to have grown into great writers of prose like this one. Also intrigued how connections are part of all art scenes, like looking for a gallery of a famous photographer who once took photos of one’s mother! From working class Essex in the nineteen forties and fifties as I am, this is not likely to happen to me. Although a few years ago I once saved a whole climbing row of people on an escalator in Birmingham from falling backwards on to each other! I suppose in Paris, Essex does not exist?

  41. CITY NOT PARIS by Anna Aslanyan

    On the face of it, an otherwise fascinating – and, for me, instructive – portrait of Mavis Gallant, journalist and fictioneer, perhaps both at once, as an emblem for this book, videlicet: her “without and within.” Her instinctive leaning towards outsiders – and étrangers? In 1968. A lesson for our Brexitation? Also this portrait’s title is an ideal rider upon the definitional literature I encountered here yesterday with Craig Dworkin: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2019/06/29/paris-dostoyevsky-wannabe-cities/#comment-16267

  42. MANNA IN MID-WILDERNESS by Natalie Ferris

    A fascinating article on Christine Brooke-Rose, her experimental fiction, her time in Paris… and equally experimental with some intrinsic preternaturalism (as is increasingly common with my Gestalt Real-Time Reviewing), I wondered how publishing a book earlier this very morning — shown below, with official publication date today, 10 July 2019, a book containing my Real-Time Reviews of Fiona Pitt-Kethley — could possibly be connected with my later reading just now of this Ferris essay? I eventually found the connection, as Fiona Pitt-Kethley and Christine Brooke-Rose both appeared in “The Tiger Garden: A Book of Writers’ Dreams” edited by Nicholas Royle in 1996. But not only that, so did I appear in it (D.F. Lewis)! While Nicholas Royle appears in this current ‘Paris’ book that I am real-time reviewing! Proof sources below.

    626905B8-57DD-4F23-B1D2-E5B2715CFCC1 3D980A69-0D61-464C-8621-D848C815E82F 90C4F4B4-2BB7-4137-8A40-BF16CA314A29 E9CCA757-06CC-4721-8761-D055A9A48214 0675CECD-9317-4927-B0C7-1C19F7E80262

  43. Pingback: Synchronicity rampant… | DES LEWIS GESTALT REAL-TIME REVIEWS: I’m gettin great hawlin here.

  44. CENTRAL COMMITTEE by Owen Hatherley

    “…before you reach the Périphérique.”

    The synergy, or otherwise, of the architecture in Paris of a political movement’s central office and the political movement itself. A bit like this book and its contents? Ignore, if you are reading it as an ebook.


    Following essays above about translation and the synergy of buildings and what goes on in them, this poem is translated into a different language, perhaps Bob Cobbing or concrete poetry disguised, rather than translated, as English or Ginsberg?

    “now hosting our chit-chat of net and web.”


    “, describing Notre-Dame as ‘one of the most pessimistic buildings in the world’.”

    A tasty account, with quotes, of the still relevant 1960s guidebooks of Nairn. With his mixed views of Paris. Like the concept of a “‘topographical hunch’.” Limning the Liminal. Where space spaces out. And place can take place. Wonderful stuff so suitable to this book, which is not a surprise as it is written by its overall editor. A surprise, too, that, in this light, it contains the only typo so far in this huge book (top line page 295)! 🙂

    By the way, I subscribed to BFI Player and Mubi on Amazon Prime to see some of the films mentioned in this book! Seen Varda so far. Something always happens eventually, even if it’s a chopped arm – or a single typo?

  47. DONUT by Will Ashon

    “It is peripheral to me. I am also peripheral to it,…”

    Yesterday, perhaps for the first time in the world, I thought of the concept of ‘mutual metaphors’ and used the term in a review. This seems to be embodied in this numbered essay of Paris and London turning into ‘donuts’, and I do not want to spoil the concept by jumping the gun here. You need to read it for yourself first in Ashon. The pity is doughnut is misspelt here as you can see. Or perhaps the author is a do nut or a do nothing? Judging by what he says, his many visits to Paris are equivalent to my single one in 1967.

  48. WHAT WAS HIS NAME? by John Holten

    “…half-reminiscences of S., a faceless Frenchman I once befriended…”

    Faceless, yet still searching in Facebook.
    This is a wonderful piece that flows with throwaway self-appraisals, yet with dignity and perception at the nature of Paris, literature and tourism. Not sex tourism, but sex is mentioned, and girlfriends. Was there a pilot once in Éric Rohmer, I wonder gratuitously. Guess I’ll check the internet, if I can be bothered. Not relevant, though. That preinternet brain in the preterite tense.

  49. THE IRISH GENIUS by Gerry Feehily

    The genius not of the Brexit Backstop but of Oscar Wilde or of the genius loci of this story as seen by some other “wild-haired genius spouting poetry”. Without sarcasm, and in all seriousness, this story needs an award of some sort, as it leaves you with lasting images and ideas, as well as giving, in a relatively short space, the best vicarious panorama of its genius loci, here Paris, diverse-socially, visually and emotionally, and those lasting images of a writer brother meeting his sister and her rich boy friend in a posh hotel, champagne, the tick tock of wine being poured, talk of Les Dawson (do I believe it?), the empathisable concept of literachore, a 70 year old woman prostitute who is another genius loci, later a helicopter with his sister and brother aboard, leading startlingly and eventually to a concept of Boeings and their engines (surely this could not have been written before the latest Boeing crashes!?), and much more. The perfect short story – you don’t often meet one of them.

    “No, I suppose there isn’t a plot.
    That must be interesting.”

  50. PARIS SYNDROME by Dylan Trigg

    The perfect coda to Feehily’s “genius loci” of a serialist, if not surrealist, symphony, here a syndrome where tourists’ fugue states derive from expectations of Paris being thwarted. The Starbucks with its skinny lattes starting up in iconic Montmartre, notwithstanding? The fire at Notre Flame no doubt being important, too, if retrocausally, to this syndrome?


    As a fan of the fiction of Thomas Ligotti who is not known particularly for novels, I was intrigued by meeting someone called Sdrigotti. I have long deemed ‘ligotti’ as a translation of ‘knots’, and ‘sdrigotti’ I will now deem ‘sirens.’

    “: the coincidence of sign (siren) and sound (siren) is too obvious to miss.”

    …if not to mention? I don’t think even I would have descried that coincidence! Yet, this interesting writerly work summons up thoughts of the Intentional Fallacy as a literary theory. Alex seems to exist beyond the words written here, a semantic field I can trudge through in my slimy socks. Any tropes of the Anti-Natalism ethos, notwithstanding.

  52. THE ARRAIGNMENT OF PARIS by Stuart Wilson

    “Cultured shuddering at the uncultured is as uncultured as lack of culture itself…”

    The soul’s final arrondissement? The ultimate conflux in rich texture of prose expressing the Paradox of Paris, even at a distance like me. The distance of my single visit in 1967. A place that stays in my soul today as part of the antidote to dysbrexia. For me, the avant gardist and traditionalist. Not only a moustache put on the well-guarded screen of the Mona Lisa, but a pissoir provided for expression underneath by the other wannabe book co-reviewed with this one!

  53. PARIS PERDU by Tom McCarthy

    “i.e. to signal that is hasn’t stayed the same) […] built into the experience of being

    Syntactically booby-trapped Proustian palimpsests of nostalgic expectations of what Paris once was to many people, in counterpoint with what it never was, except in memory. With what it never is.

  54. D384FC1F-0134-4924-A5CF-E80176FAB025Part of the photograph I used for my Gestalt Real-Time Review of the book called EVERYDAY by the author of the next story (as yet unread) that follows the following Hodgson story…

    a mnemopolis, a necropole !
    by Andrew Robert Hodgson

    A Joycean everyday as one day. A day of bus numbers. A genuinely mind-teasing ‘flowing-fountain’ of a story, as opposed to an old-fashioned stream-of-consciousness, around which pigeons gather, and where does the acid come from, the fountain, or the pigeons? A two way filter? The runny stuff between our feet? Between us and where we see the buses? I ask myself. And does exagerratingly enunciating the word ‘fromage’ serve any purpose when photographing a wedding group? And the man I seek, in whatever Paris café, is he reading Rimbaud … or Rourke? Anemone, Bournemouth, unemotional, mnemopolis, nemonymous – what do these words have in common?

    My previous review (yesterday, if not everyday) of Andrew Hodgson: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2019/06/29/paris-dostoyevsky-wannabe-cities/#comment-16413

  55. Pingback: CHRISTINE BROOKE-ROSE: Red Rubber Gloves | Bowen KÔRner (The Circumflexing Elbow)

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