This is a book about Paris and being a fish out of water. Baldwin's insights on the latter - (the difficulties with language etc...) are enjoyable and universal. His observations on Parisian life are fresh and incisive. They neither descend into cliche nor over-correct by focusing on the banal. Instead he offers a cast of tightly observed characters from his working and social life in the city. The book frequently prompts a delicious hilarity - especially when Baldwin deploys his trick of translating directly, and without warning, from his poor French back into the actual English. The work made me feel good about Paris and about life in general.
Baldwin can certainly write engagingly and intelligently. This memoir of his stay in Paris is full of acute observation, endearing characterisation, memorable aphorisms - and hilarious dead pan humour. He is never at a loss for `le bon mot' and is nicely self-aware. I would certainly recommend this book and, if you like it, try his extended essay `Our French Connection', which is from the same vein but Stateside. And Baldwin's first novel `You Lost Me there', which is a constant presence in these pages, is a stimulating and enjoyable read also.