A novel set in Paris – what could be better?
Add to the mix three interesting women and a middle aged intellectual, who can’t seem to sort out his love life. In the midst of one of these relationships a priceless painting, purportedly by Cezanne, goes missing. Who is the thief? What will they do with the painting?
I didn’t warm completely to Max and his ‘dithering’, and as a father of two young children, he seemed to spend remarkably little time with them, however, the pleasure in C.K. Stead’s depictions of daily life in Paris and the witty glimpses of urbane intellectual life, carried me through. I ended up enjoying this novel as much as any of Stead’s recent fiction, (which is to say, I did enjoy it very much.)
Stead analyses French-ness, and what it feels like to be a New Zealander living in modern-day Europe; tackles themes of love, fidelity, current world events, and ‘the importance of books’, all, superbly well.
I recommend this one to staff, or senior students, who love great writing.
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