From the author of The Transitive Vampire,
comes an invitation to a strangely illuminated City of Light, Paris out of Hand.
This seductively beautiful replica of a 19th-century travel bookreplete with illustrations of sights you will never see and maps that may plummet you into a different eraguides readers through the Paris that is, that might be, and that never was. Amid the Parisian locales you know and love, unheard-of temptations abound. If your visit to the Cafe Conjugal ends in a spat, you can make up at the luscious and fantastic Museum of Lips and Books. From the disconcerting Brasserie Loplop, steal your chair for the Cinema Pont Neuf, whose movies flow onto the Seine. Your curiosity sated for the day, check into Hotel des Etrangers, where phantoms change the sheets and your room in the middle of the night. Unhandy glossaries help you talk your way through these provocative encounters, with such apropos comments as J'aimerais sortir avec votre hyene pour boire un verre
(I'd like to take your hyena out for a drink). A rare and rowdy entertainment that dares its readers to explore a Paris one can only wish existed.
To the immortal health of Karen Elizabeth Gordon's Paris Out of Hand, the most entertaining nonfiction book I've read all year. Her delirium of prose stands out among the year's best fiction, too. . . The book -- cartwheeling over so many issues of design, color, art history, stand-up comedy and performance art that I must remind myself that it is a lo-and-behold book -- provides a mischievous, faux travelogue of a brightly imagined Paris. Paris Out of Hand is told and sung through fiction, fakery and the bold interplay of words and images. . . . Everything in her City by the Seine is surreal, magical, and possible: At the Hotel Helias, ""Paris' answer to the Heartbreak Hotel,"" handkerchiefs are handed out with room keys; and chocolate, because of it's euphoric and erotic properties is strictly forbidden.
The sustained performance is one of grins and asides, in which the allusions to France, literature, the artists of the old Left Bank, come in buckets; one can sip and dip at leisure.