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Seventy-four-year-old Jules Lacour - a maître at Paris-Sorbonne, cellist, widower, veteran of the war in Algeria, and child of the Holocaust - must find a balance between his strong obligations to the past and the attractions and beauties of life and love in the present.
In the midst of what should be an effulgent time of life, with its days bright with music, family, and rowing on the Seine, 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 who is a third his age. Against the backdrop of an exquisite and knowing vision of Paris and the way it can uniquely shape a life, he forges a denouement that is staggering in its humanity, elegance, and truth.
In the intoxicating beauty of its prose and emotional amplitude of its storytelling, Mark Helprin's Paris in the Present Tense is a soaring achievement, a deep, dizzying look at a life through the purifying lenses of art and memory.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By BellevueMike on 10-14-17
Greatest living "novelist". Top 10 narrator.
Helprin is the only writer going who combines exquisite phrasing with exquisite and important thought, always within the construct of the classical novel form. There are writers who are great with phrasing, or rumination/philosophizing, or sometimes (but rarely) even both. But to be able to achieve both, and frequently, while staying within an important and compelling story, within the complete novel form.........that's a feat so rare that it's almost disheartening to read Helprin knowing that at 70, he may not have many/any left in him. God, I hope not.
Pinchot is brilliant performing multiple accents across mixed dialogs, all with the proper cadence, emphasis, and heart. It's worth the listen just to hear a Texan talking with a Parisian over dinner!
79 of 82 people found this review helpful
By R. D. G. on 02-21-18
Elegant and illuminating
The written novel seemed daunting, and because I have no background in French; hard to read. The Audible version brought this work to life. The narrator was skilled in his reading, and I eagerly listened to this tale. Beautifully written. This will be on my frequent listen list.
33 of 34 people found this review helpful