"The greatest book ever written about Paris" - Raymond Queneau. "Among the books you must read before you die is "Paris Noir" by Jacques Yonnet" - Raphael Sorin. In "Paris Noir", Yonnet tells is about some of the darker quarters of Paris on the left bank of the Seine, centred on the place Mauberge and the rue Mouffetard, as seen from his own experience. It is mainly written during the 1940s, under the Occupation and in the immediate post-war period; there is a certain amount dealing with the resistance, but the main thrust of the book is a Paris that existed between the wars - and is well known from the film noir - but has since disappeared. It concentrates on the people, rather than places, a mixture of ordinary workers, tradesmen, artists, con-men and criminals. It invests the area with a sense of mystery including occasional supernatural events; it is extremely well written, often using the language of the inhabitants of the area. For Dedalus, it is the perfect counterfoil for J. K. Huysman's "Parisian Sketches", which we published in 2004 which showed the darker side of Paris pre Haussman's big boulevards.
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