Monday, September 26, 2011
Zazie, ten years old, comes to Paris with her mother. At the train station her mother flounces off with a new boyfriend while Zazie's uncle, a female impersonator at a Pigalle club, keeps her for the weekend. Zazie, Raymond Queneau's 1959 comic cult novel, is a classic that was once distributed by the same French publishing house that handled Burroughs' Naked Lunch and Miller's Tropic Of Cancer when no one else would dare. Of course it became a huge bestseller in France. Zazie is a sassy, cynical, foulmouthed little girl who arrives in Paris and what Zazie really WANTS is to ride the Metro. Alas, the Metro workers are on strike, so our little heroine goes off on her own in search of adventure, driving her poor uncle nuts in the process. This wonderful book manages to be funny and heartwarming while maintaining a raunchy, satirical edge. Definitely not for children. Queneau's play of language entranced the readers. This is from Louis Malle's great 1960 movie version, which he directs with the pace and energy of a Roadrunner cartoon!
Then there's Eloise.
Another little girl, with a mind of her own, who comes to Paris with her dog, her turtle and her Nanny with the whale bone corsets to live at a fancy hotel. The things in life she likes are; room service, room service, room service
Here's the thing of it: Paris has just been discovered by Eloise the little girl from the Plaza...
Here is what Eloise does in Paris: everything. The effect is rawther extraordinaire - as Nanny says. If you come to Paris with Eloise you will always be glad you did.
Eloise in Paris was first published in 1957, the second of the Eloise quartet, and an immediate bestseller. Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight traveled to Paris to research the book, and the illustrations are dotted with the celebrities they knew there: Richard Avedon takes Eloise's passport photograph; Christian Dior prods her tummy, while his young assistant, Yves Saint Laurent, looks on; Lena Horne sits at an outdoor café.
Note: this blogger envies such research
Cara - Tuesday