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In explosive 1968, Calvin Davis spends a year in the City of Light sitting at Left Bank sidewalk cafes penning endless drafts of The Phantom Lady of Paris. On cafe tables, he learns more about writing than he has in the lecture halls of two American universities - Hampton and Howard. He also learns how to wear out the seats of ten pairs of jeans. The honor of birthing such a unique and remarkable woman as the Phantom Lady, he says, was worth the loss of the pants and the bearing of the pain for today, his child The Phantom Lady lives.
on March 04, 2016 :
Told in the thoroughly convincing voice of a late 1960s protagonist, an American in Paris, Calvin Davis’ Phantom Lady of Paris brings to life a thoroughly European world, on the brink of violence and decay. Surprisingly, that world seems not so different from the world of today, inviting the reader to tread carefully and wait for revelation. Phantom is a hauntingly beautiful novel, combining mysteries of human life, deep suspicions, enthralling backdrops of coffee, river, history and cafes, and history’s dark intrusions on the lives of real people. It’s hard not to view the sins of the past as a cancer infecting the present, while desires for change turn into action, reaction, and occasional terror, while the desire for love learns to fly.
The language is beautiful, and honestly real. The scenery is evocative. The pages are filled with a genuine sense of real history. And the mystery captivates. From missing newspaper to missing persons, dejected coffee-drinker to over-enthusiastic cop, and from first love to haunting renewal, this is a book to read, savor, absorb and remember, as we live through the Parises and Parisians of our own humanly confusing and partisan world.
Disclosure: I was given a copy and I offer my honest review.
(reviewed 3 years after purchase)