Paris in Turmoil: A City Between Past and Future

Verso. Nov. 2022. 112p. tr. from French by David Fernbach. ISBN 9781839764660. $19.95. HIST
Historian Hazan’s (The Invention of Paris) collection of 31 short, idiosyncratic pieces about a changing Paris covers everything from the history of its ubiquitous zinc roofs to the slow waning of its artistic cafes. But Hazan, a political activist and insatiable flâneur (“stroller,” roughly), has compiled something far greater than musings on the City of Light. Read together, these pieces offer an extended invitation to the reader to take the many layers of Parisian life and history more seriously and give them the attention they merit. The questions the author asks readers to consider are simple: who decides how Paris changes, and who will decide its future? His writing may seem heavy-handed at times, but it’s due to his obvious passion to preserve the rich fabric of Parisian life.
VERDICT Readers already familiar with Paris will find this fiery and charming volume the perfect companion for a thought-provoking walk around the City of Light.
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