Inside a Pearl
When Edmund White moved to Paris in 1983, he was forty-three years old, couldn't speak French, and only knew two people in the entire city. But in middle age, he discovered the new anxieties and pleasures of mastering a new culture. When he left fifteen years later to take a teaching position in the U.S., he was fluent enough to broadcast on French radio and TV, and in his work as a journalist, he'd 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 which he'd come to understand French life and culture in a deeper way.
The book's title evokes the Parisian landscape in the eternal mists and the half-light, the serenity of the city compared to the New York White had known (and vividly recalled in City Boy). Because White certainly fell headily in love with the city and its culture: intoxicated and intellectually stimulated. He became the definitive biographer of Jean Genet; he wrote lives of Marcel Proust and Arthur Rimbaud. He became a recipient of the French Order of Arts and Letters. Inside a Pearl recalls those fertile years for White, and offers a brilliant examination of a city and a culture eternally imbued with an aura of enchantment.
The audio rights are handled by Liz Farrell.
Helen Manders manages the translation rights for Inside a Pearl
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
We are lucky to have him still publishing . diverting, affectionate as well as bitchy, and full of tips
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
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
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
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