Paris Noir: The Secret History of a City by Jacques Yonnet, Christine Donougher

By Jacques Yonnet, Christine Donougher

Written usually throughout the Forties, Paris Noir unearths a number of the darker quarters of Paris at the Left financial institution, based at the position Mauberge and Rue Mouffetard. on the time of the profession and simply afterwards Yonnet describes Paris among the wars -- popular from movie noir -- yet now disappeared. Yonnet concentrates at the humans, instead of areas, a mix of traditional employees, tradesmen, artists, con-men and criminals. He invests the world with a feeling of poser, together with occasional supernatural occasions. this can be very well-written, frequently utilizing the language and sang of the locals. For Dedalus it's the ideal counterfoil for J.K.Huysmans Parisian Sketches (2005), which confirmed the darker aspect of Paris pre Haussman’s grand boulevards. • disguise photograph by way of recognized French photographer Robert Doisneau. • on hand for the 1st time in English

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Paris Noir: The Secret History of a City

Written quite often through the Nineteen Forties, Paris Noir unearths the various darker quarters of Paris at the Left financial institution, founded at the position Mauberge and Rue Mouffetard. on the time of the profession and simply afterwards Yonnet describes Paris among the wars -- renowned from movie noir -- yet now disappeared.

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Exhaustion has made me hypersensitive. A rheumy lorry passes by‚ a very long way off. I hear it‚ I sense it descending Rue Monge. It’s going to drive round the square‚ turn into the boulevard on the left. I can ‘see’ it. I’m sure of it. It sends a shudder through cubic kilometres of buildings. This evening the neighbourhood’s nerves are on edge. Ici tous les plafonds ont eu la scarlatine Ça pèle à plâtre que veux-tu – ô Lamartine … [Here all the ceilings have had scarlet fever As you’d expect the plaster’s peeling – O Lamartine …] That dark‚ circular‚ ringed stain above the bedside table is where the petrol lamp used to hang‚ stinking and leaking like nobody’s business.

I’d encountered him before. Just after the last war‚ I spent some of my childhood (the summer months‚ for several years in a row) at E‚ a small town in the Eure-et-Loir. I had some playmates‚ who were entranced by all the things the ‘big boys’ got up to‚ that’s to say‚ boys three or four years their senior. These ‘big boys’ affected to despise us. They never joined in our games‚ but they were happy to capture the admiring attention of an easily impressed gaggle of kids. The most conceited‚ big-mouthed show-off‚ and sometimes the meanest of these older boys‚ was called Honoré.

The corridor continued beyond it‚ plunging downwards. In short‚ it was a kind of drain-trap. That’s all. Nothing else. Disappointed‚ we retraced our steps. Old Hubert scanned the walls with his electric torch. Look! An opening. No‚ an alcove‚ with some wooden object that looks like a black statuette. I pick the thing up: it’s easily removable. I stick it under my arm. I told Hubert‚ ‘It’s of no interest …’ and kept this treasure for myself. I gazed at it for hours on end‚ in private. So my deductions‚ my hunches were not mistaken: the Bièvre-Seine confluence was once the site where sorcerers and satanists must surely have gathered.

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