What does it mean to fulfil a dream long after it seems possible? When Patti Miller arrives to write in Paris for a year, the world glows 'as if the light that comes after the sun has set hadspilled gold on everything'.
But wasn't that just romantic illusion? Miller grew up on Wiradjuri land in country Australia where her heart and soul belonged. What did she think she would find in Paris that she couldn't find at home? How could she belong in this city made of other people's stories?
She turns to French writers, Montaigne, Rousseau, de Beauvoir and other memoirists, each one intent on knowing the self through gazing into the 'looking glass' of the great world. They accompany her as she wanders the streets of Paris – they even have coffee together – and talk about love, suffering, desire, motherhood, memory, the writing journey - and the joys and responsibilities of ransacking..
Exploring truth and illusion, self-knowledge and identity, and family and cultures, Miller evokes the beauty, the contradictions and the daily life of contemporary Paris.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
Award winning memoirist (The Mind of A Thief) Patti Miller has had a lifelong love affair with Paris. Mostly that has involved short flings with the city but recently, she decided to consummate it more fully by living there for a year. This is her journal of those twelve months of discovering the city and herself.
By summoning up the ghosts of the city's greatest memoirists from Montaigne to Simone de Beauvoir, she adds texture and a sense of history to her explorations and café musings. Showing decided pluck despite faltering language skills, she joins a choir and makes new friends, as well as learning about the surprising place that bees hold in the urban hive.
Wandering like a true flâneur, making accidental discoveries in each quartier, this is a charmingly unconventional and personal journey.
About the Author
Patti Miller (born 1954), an Australian writer, was born and grew up near Wellington, New South Wales, Australia. She holds a BA (Communications) and an MA (Writing) from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). She is the author of six books and numerous articles and essays published in national newspapers and literary magazines. She has taught literature and writing at UTS, University of Western Sydney, Sydney Writers’ Centre and other writers’ centres and is the founder and director of its Life Stories Workshop, which aims to develop and support memoir writing.
Bees ransack flowers here and flowers there, but then they make a honey which is entirely theirs - Michel De Montaigne