“Paris,” as Audrey Hepburn once said, “is always a good idea,” and so is That’s Paris, An Anthology of Life, Love and Sarcasm in the City of Light, published by Velvet Morning Press, a new small press dedicated to seeking and promoting emerging talent.
A collection of thirty-two short pieces that include the fictional and non-fictional by twenty-three authors, this newly released book provides a varied, humorous and luminous view of the City of Light. With a forward by international best-selling author, Stephen Clarke, the anthology is organized into eight sections that start (where else?) with food, follow with quintessential Parisian bridges and then cafes, finally turning to topics of health, love, and becoming Parisian (among others). All insights are served up with wit and evocative imagery. As a result, the reader accompanies the authors to Paris and thoroughly enjoys each and every expedition.
Among many standout pieces, some of my favorites include Audrey M. Chapuis, “The French Table: A Test of Mettle,” in which the author’s palate is challenged by French “delicacies,” Vicki Lesage’s, “Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs,” where the author’s foolhardy attempts to shop in the month of August are thwarted at every turn, Sarah del Rio’s “This One Time in Paris,” which takes the form of a multiple choice quiz, Didier Quemener’s short story about a mysterious encounter on a bridge (told in both English and French), and especially Laura Schalk’s, hilarious yet poignant “The Little Book of Funerals,” in which a newly transplanted expatriate eavesdrops on Parisian conversations conducted in cafes, trying to make sense of the world. As one of Schalk’s characters says during a transatlantic telephone call, “tell me some amusing anecdotes about the good life in Paris so I can live vicariously.”
This is what each of the twenty-three writers does, with many unexpected twists and turns.