Friday, April 29, 2011

Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik

Paris to the Moon is a memoir of the author's five years spent in Paris with his wife and young son. His writing is sharp and funny and, when it comes to French culture, oh-so enlightening. And I have it on good authority that it is all pretty accurate . . .

This passage makes me laugh every time I read it.
He went up to the grower and said, in French, "Why is it that no one any longer grows green asparagus?" The man gave him an incredulous look and then said, in beautiful clear French of the Isle-de-France, "You know, I would say that what you've just stated is the exact contrary of the truth." It was a perfect Parisian tone of voice - not disputatious, just suggesting a love of the shared pursuit of the truth, which, unfortunately, happens not to be in your possession right now.
Antoine made the right response. He raised his eyebrows in polite wonder while smiling only on the left side of his face, an expression that means, How greatly I respect the vigor of your opinions, however much they may call to ming the ravings of a lunatic. "What do you mean?" he demanded. pg243 

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