Book Review: Paris by Edward Rutherfurd
Paris by Edward Rutherfurd
Paris is a dense and beautifully-written book that tackles the history of The City of Lights. It is a massive novel that follows the fortunes of six French families from the 13th to 20th centuries as it weaves a tale that captures all the major events of Paris. The de Cygne family are aristocrats who are almost wiped out by the terror of 1794. By contrast the Le Sourds are medieval pickpockets and thieves, who become fervent champions of the Jacobins during the French Revolution. The Renards are merchants and artisans. The Gascons are working class, the Blanchards the upper reaches of the bourgeoisie, while the Jacobs are a Jewish family who settled in Paris in the Middle Ages who converted to Christianity. All the families cross paths with one another over and over the centuries. There is romance and betrayal, courage and determination, marriage and affairs. The central icon of the Eiffel Tower dominates in this novel, from the outrage when it was built to someone cutting the cables so that Hitler couldn’t go up it. Edward Rutherfurd handles this epic, sweeping historical novel with masterful ease. This is a spellbinding multi-generational novel that will make you fall in love with Paris – even if you have never been there. And if you have been to Paris, you will look anew at the streets you have walked. This is a book that I intend to re-read because it is densely packed with so much fascinating information. Edward Rutherfurd has certainly done his research!