Paris in the Present Tense

Paris in the Present Tense

Book - 2017
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Jules is confronted headlong and all at once by a series of challenges to his principles, livelihood, and home, forcing him to grapple with his complex past and find a way forward. He risks fraud to save his terminally ill infant grandson, matches wits with a renegade insurance investigator, is drawn into an act of savage violence, and falls deeply, excitingly in love with a young cellist a third his age. He forges a denouement that is staggering in its humanity, elegance, and truth.
Publisher: New York, NY : The Overlook Press, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781468314762
1468314769
Branch Call Number: FIC/HELPRIN
Characteristics: 394 pages ; 24 cm

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dennismmiller
Jan 17, 2018

Jules Lacour has lived a life fenced in by tragedy. As a child, both of his parents were shot in the street in front of his eyes during the last days of the German occupation. He was raised by genealogically and emotionally distant relatives. He served in the French army in Algeria. He enjoyed decades of marriage to a woman he loved with all his heart, only to lose her to a long illness. His career as a cellist and composer, while comfortable, has brought him neither recognition nor wealth. He has a daughter, with whom he has a good relationship, but who does not and will never understand him. His only grandson is slowly dying, in a France where their Jewish people are rapidly disappearing. Jules loves France, loves Paris, loves his family, loves his few remaining friends, loves music, loves his students. He is quick to love and loyal to what he loves - to what has gone before - loyal to death and beyond.

Helprin deftly manages shifting between genres including satire, crime drama, and romance. The setbacks and betrayals Jules continues to suffer throughout the novel are contrasted with his continual attention to - and devotion to - beauty, creating a portrait of a life and a world that are far from perfect and yet infinitely precious.

brookse0518 Jan 10, 2018

Excellent book! Romantic, historical, interesting: husband and I loved this title.

t
tirjan
Nov 17, 2017

Helprin is a very good writer. Book is contemporary, published in 2017, and covers the life span of Jules Lacour, born in 1940 in Paris. Since his parents were Jewish, their presence in territory under the control of the Nazis the Lacour family lived in hiding. Very suspenseful.

Jules lived through it but his parents didn't. Jules carried the haunting memory of living in the attic the rest of his life. Very gripping story about what is going on on France today. Though a novel there is very little doubt about the author's historical accuracy.

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