Paris, by Andi Watson and Simon Gane. Published: 2007 by SLG Publishing. Fiction.
Paris is a book that I picked up impulsively, because it looked cute and fun and, well, French. It's a little chocolate croissant of a book- light, slight, and sweet.
A tale of young love- the growing attraction between hardscrabble American artist Juliet and British society girl Deborah- the story is told in tones of gray that nonetheless evoke the bustle and busyness of Paris in lovely detail. Artist Simon Gane credits such iconic French photographers as Robert Doisneau, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Paul Almasy as inspiration for his scenes but I was reminded of the illustrator Jean-Jacques Sempe and his recent urban sketchbook of the city, A Little Bit of Paris, as well. Gane's Paris is vivacious and intriguing, and his big street scenes capture its atmosphere and appeal beautifully. The panels are varied and go from intimate closeups of the characters, with angular faces and spare but communicative features, to full page, swirling tableaux. The book even opens like a movie, with the opening credits rolling over sequential establishing shots of the city and heroine Juliet. Very cool.
The story itself is light as air and fun. Blue-collar Juliet comes to Paris to learn to be a serious artist, and takes a commission to paint Deborah's portrait; the two young women, one frustrated and the other repressed, are drawn to each other but circumstances keep them apart. Juliet delivers her painting and they part ways, until some time passes and some things change, and they can be together again. There is some dialogue in French, and the book includes translations at the back; I wish the translations had been at the bottom of the page because flipping back and forth can be awkward. I'd suggest the book for armchair travelers, light-romance fans and Francophiles, and for older teens and adults. Again, not one for the little kids (or anyone with issues with the gay themes) but a great little read nonetheless.
FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review from the publisher.