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Inside a Pearl

Edmund White was forty-three years old when he moved to Paris in 1983. He spoke no French and knew just two people in the entire city, but soon discovered the anxieties and pleasures of mastering a new culture. White fell passionately in love with Paris, its beauty in the half-light and eternal mists; its serenity compared with the New York he had known. Intoxicated and intellectually stimulated by its culture, he became the definitive biographer of Jean Genet, wrote lives of Marcel Proust and Arthur Rimbaud. Frequent trips across the Channel to literary parties in London begot friendships with Julian Barnes, Alan Hollinghurst, Martin Amis and many others. When he left, fifteen years later, to return to the US, he was fluent enough to broadcast on French radio and TV, and as a journalist had made the acquaintance of everyone from Yves St Laurent to Catherine Deneuve to Michel Foucault. He'd also developed a close friendship with an older woman, Marie-Claude, through whom he'd come to a deeper understanding of French life. Inside a Pearl vividly recalls those fertile years, and offers a brilliant examination of a city and a culture eternally imbued with an aura of enchantment.
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A literary treat: a memoir of Edmund White's years among the cultural and intellectual elite of 1980s Paris

About the Author

Edmund White is the author of many novels, including the classic A Boy's Own Story and the most recent Jack Holmes & His Friend; two previous memoirs, My Lives and City Boy; biographies of Jean Genet, Marcel Proust, and Arthur Rimbaud; and several other works of non-fiction, including The Flaneur. He lives in New York City and teaches writing at Princeton University.


Paris may well be White's pearl, but he is in fact the real pearl ... This wonderfully eccentric, conversational and personalised cultural history contains the essence of Edmund White ... Entertaining and wry, White is worldly-wise and wise * Eileen Battersby, Irish Times * Edmund White writing about his Paris years, with walk-on parts for Catherine Deneuve, Yves Saint-Laurent and other assorted members of the French glitterati? That'd be Inside a Pearl * Scotsman * There is at once something artfully canny and beguilingly innocent about Inside a Pearl ... You want to hold on to him, will him to live more, live longer and write about more years * Independent * We are lucky to have him still publishing ... diverting, affectionate as well as bitchy, and full of tips * London Evening Standard * In the end, this dazzling memoir isn't just a love song to a city - a city "so calm" it is "like living inside a pearl" - but profoundly moving elegy to a friend * Sunday Times *

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