PORTRAITS OF FRANCE by Robert Daley

PORTRAITS OF FRANCE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Personal reminiscences of an aspiring American writer's life in France, mixed in with a vigorous dose of French history, by the author of A Faint Cold Fear, Year of the Dragon, etc.--a treat for Francophiles and Daley fans alike. Daley first traveled to France a few years after the end of WW II, when, at age 23, he dreamed of writing the great American novel and had resolved to follow Fitzgerald's trail. In Nice, he fell in love almost instantly with a local girl, battled red tape and disapproving parents to marry her and bring her back to the States, and began a lifelong association with a country he had relished at first sight. A later stint as a Paris-based foreign correspondent during the de Gaulle era offered opportunities to wander around the country with his family and interview interesting local people, making this reminiscence a generally pleasant mixture of personal tales (the long, strange life of his Swiss/British/French hotelier father-in-law) and brief snatches of local history (the resident popes of Avignon). The charm of the book lies in its details--e.g., Daley's officially registering his daughter's birth by handwriting her vital statistics in an enormous ledger at the local marie. Most readers will also sympathize with Daley's eventual exasperation at French society's xenophobia and the gnawing homesickness that finally brought him back to the States. An engaging story of a man's love affair with a country, and a congenial portrait of one writer's life.

Pub Date: July 14th, 1991
ISBN: 0-316-17185-9
Page count: 496pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1991




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