the next good book

Paris In The Present Tense

By Mark Helprin


394 pages

What’s it about? This is a novel about looking back at your life.  Jules Lacour lives in Paris. He is a cellist, widower, veteran of the Algerian war, and a child of the Holocaust. He finds himself aging, alone, and with a quest.  He wants desperately to help his only daughter Catherine and his young grandson Luc.  Luc has leukemia and Jules would like to help get the family out of Paris and to better medical care.  Jules Lacour is so interesting! What did it make me think about? Aging, love, fidelity, racism, and friendship. Should I read it? This is a good novel, but not a great novel, and this is a shame because Jules is an amazing character! I found the story sometimes became bogged down by too many words. Mark Helprin writes beautifully- some passages take your breath away- but too many words can get in the way of greatness. Quote- “ You may not understand this until you’re much older, but to people of my age it’s a given, if one will take it, that things become a once more beautiful, more intense, and more inexplicable. You learn to see with your emotions and feel with your reason.”

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