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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love Paris, then this is for you.
This is a charming book, a collection on wonderful pieces on one of the world's favourite cities from an American journalist based in the city.
Paris to the Moon ranges right across the full scope of Parisian life. There's no real reason to say much more than this. If Paris is a city that you hold any affection for then read this book.
Throughly enjoyable.
Published on 18 Nov 2003 by Andrew Howell

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Approach with caution
Having lived and worked on the outskirts of Paris I was eager to read Adam Gopnik's account of his five years in the French capital. Alas the light - hearted, impartial read I was hoping for soon disappeared into page after page of heavyweight literary philosophy, which is what this book is.

Gopnik is undoubtedly an intellectual, a highly educated writer who is...
Published on 27 Aug 2009 by A. P. Swift


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Approach with caution, 27 Aug 2009
By 
A. P. Swift - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: From Paris to the Moon (Hardcover)
Having lived and worked on the outskirts of Paris I was eager to read Adam Gopnik's account of his five years in the French capital. Alas the light - hearted, impartial read I was hoping for soon disappeared into page after page of heavyweight literary philosophy, which is what this book is.

Gopnik is undoubtedly an intellectual, a highly educated writer who is much respected within his own circle. He analyses Paris to a philosophical depth which at times sounds pompous and just plain arrogant. Gopnik seems to look down on Paris and its inhabitants, and his frequent biased comparisons to his native New York become tedious. The reader could be forgiven for wondering why he opted to live there at all.

If name - dropping were an Olympic sport, Gopnik would send America to the top of the medal table. He seems keen to flex his intellectual muscle with references to writers, journalists and philosophers who most of normal are unlikely to have heard of. For mere mortals who do not mingle in high brow literary circles (eg most of us) this makes the book baffling in places.

This book's one saving grace is that there are some sections of information: dubious dealings of French politicians, high - profile trials of former war criminals and the famous Paris fashion scene.

That said, this book is best suited to literary luncheons and does not fall in the category of "read for pleasure". This is the first of Adam Gopnik's books that I have read, and it will probably be the last.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love Paris, then this is for you., 18 Nov 2003
By 
Andrew Howell "andyhowell3" (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a charming book, a collection on wonderful pieces on one of the world's favourite cities from an American journalist based in the city.
Paris to the Moon ranges right across the full scope of Parisian life. There's no real reason to say much more than this. If Paris is a city that you hold any affection for then read this book.
Throughly enjoyable.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Comparisons Hurt, 30 Nov 2002
By 
Bruce Kendall "BEK" (Southern Pines, NC) - See all my reviews
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The title, Paris to the Moon, derives, as the author points out, from a book by Jules Verne (From the Earth to the Moon [1865]). It may also conjure up, as it did in my mind, George Melies silent masterpiece, "Le Voyage Dans La Lune (1902), with its unforgettable image of the man in the moon wincing as the rocket hits him square in the right eye. Unfortunately, this is only one of many of Gopnik's rather forced allusions, and for the most part, his prose doesn't quite measure up to his aspirations. His attempts at coming across as a reverse-crossing Alexis De Toqueville never acquire the necessary intellectual weight to be taken seriously. This leaves him in Peter Mayle territory, the French capital equivalent of the Provencal ex-pat, wending his way somewhat comically through the trials and tribulations of Gallic bureaucracy, with large dollops of cultural commentary along the way. Here again, however, the comparisons do not lend themselves favorably to Gopnik. Mayle is much better at this sort of thing. For one thing, Gopnik's anecdotes are far less amusing than Mayle's. Whereas Mayle's vignettes capture perfectly the charming idiosyncrasies of his Provencal neighbors, Gopnik's come across as recherche, almost contrived. Again like Mayle (who must at the least, have been in the back of Gopnik's mind as a model for this sort of writing), Gopnik frequently digresses in his story to discuss cultural and particularly political variants in Parisian society. Yet whereas Mayle might take off on a tangent that actually leads to some new insight into "the French character," Gopnik provides no real revelation or compelling portrait. We just get his less than insightful musings in too many instances.
The book's strong points, on the other hand, look, at first glance, as among its most glaring weaknesses. At one point in the book, he writes for several pages about a bed time story he made up for his young son. It revolves around an infant baseball player, named the kid, who becomes a pitcher for the early-century New York Giants. What starts out as gaggingly cloying, turns out to be rather inspired story telling. It also provides a very sweet, genuinely touching portrait of the relationship this father had with his little boy.
Another high mark goes to Gopnick for providing some genuinely useful information for Americans who might wish to make a prolonged sojourn in Paris. His discussion of the differences between American and French appliances and the varied assortment of outlet prongs should serve as a valuable warning to Yankees who want to follow in Stein's, Fitzgerald's and Hemingway's footsteps, as should his depiction of apartment hunting in the city of lights.
Some reviewers I've read have objected to the fact that Gopnik was in too privileged a position and vantage point to be somehow "authentic." This is beside the point. These were "New Yorker" articles, after all, not Michelin Guides. Though a little pseudo-intellectual at times, Gopnik does not come across as a snob.
There are shortcomings and merits to this book. As a family journal, it succeeds, as we do get a clear picture of what it is like to raise a small nuclear family (later a "choix du Roi [sp?]) in the environs of Paris. Where the book fails, is in its measure of wit, which by Maylesian standards, is sub-par.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overwritten but a good insight into Paris, 5 Aug 2003
"It was one of those dog days when even the fan attached precariously to ceiling has trouble cutting through the sultry Paris air. The blades making a whomp, whomp, whomp sound like a 'copter in the 'nam rain forest. Lazily I pick up l'Express and flick through to the book reviews..."
And that, precisely is what is wrong with this book. As a collection of essays it would probably work quite well but has a book it is over written. Of course the rave reviews in l'Express probably have something to do with Gopniks friendship with Christine Ockrent, the Express editor.
That said, I think Gopnik scores over similar books such as Peter Mayle's << A Year in Provence >> because he was actually meeting real working French people... although his circle of friends were largely the litterati they obviously gave Gopnik the edge on understanding what makes France, and the French tick. Mayle, on the other hand, comes over as an English colonist, lording it up over the natives and never really integrating. If you want some very amusing anecdotes that will reinforce your stereotypes read <<A Year in Provence>>, if you want to learn something about Paris life Gopnik is your man. For that I will give him 4 stars.
It is interesting that Mayle isn't really welcome in the Luberon while Gopnik's French colleagues obviously miss him greatly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good book, 23 Jan 2014
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found this recommended in another book and its better than the one i was reading - clever and insightful - thankyou
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4.0 out of 5 stars American wry, 9 Feb 2013
'There is no Regulon in the Semiosphere.' It's not Star Trek or Hitchhiker's Guide, it's France - and actually both a serious and a whimsical notion as refracted through the lens Gopnikian. One of those books that's attracted the full spectrum of response, both here and stateside (see amazon.com). It's easy to feel slightly envious of this debonaire American correspondent in Paris (which he knew as a child) and, appearing in British paperback eight years after its original publication, his political and economic observations cannot but feel somewhat dated, but I soon warmed to him; read #5 (on exercise and the French) and I think you will too. Though teetering on the edge of the precious (I didn't quite see how subtitles could occlude themselves, top of p100) these dispatches avoid cliché; they are witty and acute. I can see why Americans who cannot just 'pop over' would warm to this embedded, mildly exasperated account. Try Winter Journal #1 & 2. And I've never before seen someone put the boot into the Musée d'Orsay (p102). Way to go, Adam! Privileged he may be, he's engaging with it - and at least we can get to share
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learning about Paris from the Inside by an Outsider, 24 Oct 2004
By 
This review is from: Paris to the Moon (Paperback)
Living in Paris was the dream and wish of this author since he
first visited during his teenage years. It has been said, "once, you visit Paris, you must return ..." and much of the allure is based on the desire to relive the memories of the first meal ever consumed there, recalling all the tantalizing and delicious flavors that only Parisians can create.
The book is essentially a 4 year memoir of living in Paris from the mid-1990s. The author is a writer for the New Yorker magazine, his wife a screenplay writer, who, along with their infant son, pack up and leave their home in New York, for the adventure of a lifetime. What I loved most about the book is how the author compares and contrasts American thinking, logic, and values with those of the socialistic, French, cosmopolitan view. The book is educational, literary, entertaining and occasionally amusing. The author's technique of interspersing French history and political outlook with current events and situations is particularly effective. The author writes with first hand knowledge about fashion shows held by the elite designers, the Parisian cuisine of the most well-established restaurants, reasons for some fo the strikes, the socialistic approach to healthcare, and even apartment hunting, explaining how & why the government owns apartments in the "best" neighborhoods, available only to highly elected officals.
Of interest to me, was a chapter on the political trial of a government official who had been involved in processing the paperwork for Jews who were deported to concentration camps during World War II - the sobering past is never too far away. My favorite story was the "Balzar Wars" in which a group of restaurant regulars (well established customers) form an "association" to stand up for the rights of the waiters (garcons) when an restaurant tycoon buys this favorite restaurant of theirs ... The author describes favorite "haunts" of his such as museums, art galleries, parks near the Left Bank, and even how to maneuver through the red-tape of the "Bibliotheque National" (Naitonal Library). He also describes the favorite places of his son, who is around 2 - 3 years of age by then. Another charming story was his son's first "love affair" with a Parisian blond beauty, of about 4 years of age. There is just the right combination of intellectual discourse, creative description and chatty banter, to create a hihgly pleasurable reading experience. Erika Borsos (bakonyvilla)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 12 Nov 2014
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witty and perceptive - a joy to read, and particularly if you love Paris
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars American in Paris - living it out., 5 May 2001
By A Customer
"Paris to the Moon" is a funny and intelligent book. Adam Gopnik has a lot to say and he writes well. You get really deep insights into the differences between the Anglo-Saxon and the French worlds. If you lived in the States for some time and then moved to France - this book is a must for you. Adam Gopnik just wanted to live in Paris for some time and he did it. He and his family moved from New York to Paris for five years. The book was written over these years. Accumulating stories about France and the French Adam Gopnik talks about why the foreigners fall under the charm of the French and, in particular, Parisian culture, while still hating some aspects of the French life (especially some aspects of life of a foreigner in France). Though hating is too strong a word since the way Gopnik sees everything is in the humorous light - and this is what makes the book so enjoyable. However, it is not evenly written. Gopnik is a journalist, he writes for "The New Yorker": some chapters of the "Paris to The Moon" first appeared there and probably had a deadline to write them. I had an impression that there are some peaces which loose from being too long, but all in all it is a refined intellectual pleasure to read this book.
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10 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not that impressed, 15 Sep 2002
By A Customer
This book is fairly shallow and contains some incredible demonstrations of lack of knowledge. For example, Gopnik describes his surprise reaction in discovering the "AZERTY" keyboard which is in common use in France. For a professional writer to be this uninformed is astonishing. In addition, he expounds on the tendency of French bureaucrats to forbid everything in wordy signs at park entrances. If Gopnik had a real understanding of France, he would be aware that this tendency is deeply rooted historically and pervades many aspects of life in France. Many writers have covered this topic and Gopnik's observations about this are shallow and uninformed. I got the impression that this author has never read anything about the history and culture of France and was intent on making his own slow and intellectually lazy progress in discovering things that others have known for a long time. Finally, by his own admission, his command of French was still shaky after 5 years in Paris. I find this amazing - most people in that situation would be fluent after just 2 or 3 years of near total immersion.
This book only redeems itself when Gopnik talks about his small son and their adventures together. If you want a sentimental read about a father-son relationship - fine. If you want to know something about Paris and the French - try elsewhere.
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Paris to the Moon
Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik (Paperback - Sep 2001)
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