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Books about Paris and France stretch out to the end of the horizon, and fill libraries. But the subcategory of books about Americans in Paris is smaller, and still choice. Of twentieth-century books, A. J. Lieblings Between Meals:An Appetite For Paris is pure gold, as is his The Road Back to Paris. Janet Flanners Paris Journals are collections of her letters from Paris for The New Yorker, and are full of condensed, stylized French history. Henry Jamess A Little Tour in France is the classic literary guidebook, and James Thurbers wonderful stories of his mishaps in France are included in My World and Welcome to It and in The Thurber Carnival, particularly the stories A Ride with Olympy and Memoirs of a Drudge. Ernest Hemingways A Moveable Feast is probably the most famous twentieth-century Paris memoir, though it is more about Americans than about Paris.
Novels about Americans in Paris make up an even longer and richer list. They include Henry Jamess The American and The Ambassadors. Hemingways The Sun Also Rises is the classic story of American expatriates in Paris in the 1920s, and in Irwin Shaws Collected Stories there is many a glimpse of American expatriates in the 1950s. F. Scott Fitzgeralds Babylon Revisited is probably the saddest and most beautiful story about an American in Paris after the crashand the fall.
Finally, George Gershwins great tone poem An American in Paris, which is heard often in the background of Paris to the Moon, has been recorded many times. The best version is Leonard Bernsteins 1959 recording, made with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra; it is available on CD. Gershwins piece was the basis for a not-bad Gene Kelly movie directed by Vincente Minnelli, widely available on video.
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Random House. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.
Blood at the Root
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