Friday, August 22, 2008

petite anglaise, the book

Finished reading Catherine Sanderson's Petite Anglaise and found it an enjoyable, well-written, light book, a "creative-non-fiction"/memoir that reads almost as a novel. My escape fiction/formula fiction of choice is generally the well-written mystery novel; as I've said elsewhere, I generally only bother with what's packaged as chicklit when it's set in Paris where I get to recognize my favourite streets. (Although I think that this packaging often does a disservice to very well-written work, and I also think that the themes that get covered under the label are worthwhile themes, indeed, to explore.) Petite's book I've wanted to read since I first learned, on her blog, that she'd got the contract for it. In fact, I suspect that we are more and more likely to find her writing on paper rather than on our computer screens -- since her wedding earlier this year, she seems to be blogging less and less, and I seem to remember that she's working on a novel now -- I'd certainly read it. She's unflinchingly honest in her self-examination but not tiresomely so; rather her writing is lively, engaging, snort-funny in spots, and did I mention that it's set in Paris? Even better, it's in a part of Paris I need to get to know better -- up beyond the Bastille in what used to be the villages of Belleville and Menilmontant.

Bloggers will also find the book interesting for its description of the liberating role her blog played in Sanderson's life -- she credits it with bringing out parts of her personality that had long been submerged in a stagnant marriage. Through it, she met the man with whom she began the romance that resulted in her breaking out of that marriage. If I said anymore, you'd be plugging your ears and yelling "No spoilers," so I'll stop there.

I'm off to Vancouver this weekend, and I'm packing a copy of Fernando Pessoa's Selected Poems. I'll tell you a bit more about this famous Portuguese writer later, but suffice it to say, for now, that he was eccentric and had more personae than scholars are able to keep track of. Fascinating!

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