Ginger Danto
August 09, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Paris Dreambook: An Unconventional Guide to the Splendor and Squalor of the City

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Lawrence Osborne
publisher
Pantheon
genre
Travel, Nonfiction

We gave it a B

Paris Dreambook, Lawrence Osborne’s hyperbolic ode to the City of Light reads something like the transcript of a nightmare, complete with the kind of cryptic, macabre images that surface so readily in the subconscious. In his noble effort to avoid the clichés of expatriate narrative, Osborne presents Paris as a kind of European annex to the East Village. We navigate this urban demimonde via the author’s overflowing prose, which reads as if it were inspired by the steady ingestion of gritty, bar-counter coffee from his favored section of Clichy. Indeed, except for portentous chapter headings, Osborne’s writing flows like the opaque waters of the Seine, filled with all the grimy debris of daily life that both residents and tourists prefer not to acknowledge. B

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