Thursday, 31 January 2013

Rosecrans Baldwin - Paris I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down

Paris I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down fights the corner for the physical, against the coverless in the flavourless world of the E-book. This cover would look great on a wall, or a bus stop, or a t-shirt or anything. It's wonderful, it not only looks beautiful but it feels good too. In fact, it is the best book cover I have ever had the pleasure of holding. It's safe to say, I am a little bit in love with this cover but when you fall in love with a book's cover, how can the content compete?

From the moment you turn the first page, it's as if Baldwin has crept up behind you and thrown a big Paris scented cloak over your shoulders. It's all consuming, like Jamie has shined his magic torch at your feet and you slide through the ground and find yourself emerging into streets that stink of freshly baked baguettes, cigarettes and bad coffee. You can hear the hustle and bustle on the streets, fear the frantic traffic and hear the roar of the mopeds as they pass you by. If you look closely you may catch the author, balanced precariously on the back of one, with a Penelope Pitstop-style pink helmet on his head. Also keep your eyes peeled for "Richard Ashcroft on a crash diet". If you've never been to Paris, this is exactly what it's like. If you've been and like most, desperately want to go back again on the cheap, buy this book.

Baldwin loves Paris like a close friend. His voice is romantic and loving, but without becoming too saccharin. Through his words and his journey, he builds the place brick by brick, wraps you up in its comfy continental quilt and leaves you with a yearning for all things French.  It's a wonderful, funny, unforgettable and ultimately moving memoir. Paris to Rosecrans is like his favourite food of which, he has eaten too much. In devouring his meal so appreciatively Baldwin leaves the reader feeling incredibly satisfied but also desperately hungry for more.

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