In the midst of what should be an effulgent time, 74-year-old Jules Lacour, a maître at the
Sorbonne, cellist, widower, veteran of the Algerian war, and Holocaust survivor, is faced with an onrush of challenges that test his principles and shake his sense of self to the very core. He risks fraud to save his terminally-ill infant grandson, matches wits with a renegade insurance investigator, is drawn into an act of unspeakable violence, and falls hopelessly in love with a young cellist a third his age.
Against the backdrop of rising anti-Semitism in the French capital, a rudderless Jules must grapple with the heft of history, confront the past head-on and navigate the diversions of the present to find a way forward. Buoyed by Helprin’s irresistible prose, this sleek novel weaves a tangled thread, tackling weighty themes with brio. An addictive page-turner that will leave you reeling…
Highly recommended. Paris in the Present Tense, A Novel, by Mark Helprin, published by The Overlook Press, list price: $28.95.
From France Today magazine
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