Black Elk in Paris

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It's 1888, and Paris is drunk on its own beauty and scientific and artistic accomplishment. The city is poised to host the Universal Exposition, a testimony to French power and colonization, and to unveil its extraordinary centerpiece, the Eiffel Tower.

Philippe Normand is a modest, likable physician who, in his profession, is privy to the foibles and addictions of the rich, the desperation of the poor, and the egotism of his colleagues. He is a regular guest at the dinner table...

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New, fine, clean condition, Title: "Black Elk in Paris: A Novel ", *** Author: Horsley, Kate *** Publisher: Shambhala

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1590304209 NEW- UNREAD! Has SMALL MARKER DOT on bottom edge. Gift quality. 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEED! FAST shipping. Pls note : a seller's feedback (esp. when proved over 1000s ... of transactions) really matters. Even small differences in feedback rating can make a BIG difference in shipping speed, description accuracy, and service. For example, we offer free delivery tracking for each order, can be reached by phone, and offer a 100% guarantee. For fast shipping to Hawaii and Alaska use expedited shipping. Read more Show Less

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Overview

It's 1888, and Paris is drunk on its own beauty and scientific and artistic accomplishment. The city is poised to host the Universal Exposition, a testimony to French power and colonization, and to unveil its extraordinary centerpiece, the Eiffel Tower.

Philippe Normand is a modest, likable physician who, in his profession, is privy to the foibles and addictions of the rich, the desperation of the poor, and the egotism of his colleagues. He is a regular guest at the dinner table of the Balise family, whose health he has cared for over many years. He is especially close to Madou, the strong-willed youngest daughter in the family, who is fed up with the arrogance of French culture and the constraints it puts on women. Philippe himself is lonely, burnt out on his profession, and disillusioned with conventional medical science.

While attending a Wild West show that is touring Europe, Madou is strangely drawn to the Native American Black Elk. "Choice"—as he is known in the show—is seen as an oddity by French society; he is a mysterious figure, poised and uncannily intuitive, but desperately homesick. Philippe and Madou try to help him, but it is Choice who ends up transforming the lives of all those around him.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The City of Lights sparkles in this historical novel circa 1889 as Paris prepares for the Universal Exposition, designed to demonstrate its superiority in military prowess, science, culture and the arts. Philippe Normand, a young physician who mistrusts the chauvinistic euphoria that has overtaken his fellow citizens, narrates the story. His like-minded companion, Madou, youngest daughter of the bourgeois Balise family, also rejects the latest craze and refuses to be restricted by society. Her family tolerates her eccentricities, but balks when she grows infatuated with Choice, the Lakota medicine man also known as Black Elk, who has traveled to Europe with Buffalo Bill. This mostly silent man with long braided hair, ramrod posture and a physique of carved marble embodies wisdom and serenity to Madou. To the rest of the family, and indeed to most of gossipy cafe society, he is a savage. Even devoted Philippe is apprehensive about Madou's infatuation with the man. As the city gears up for its grand celebration, Balise p re threatens to commit Madou to Salpetriere Hospital. Horsley (Confessions of a Pagan Nun) admirably recreates a city in thrall to excess, but the principal characters, especially those who resist the irrational exuberance of the times, get lost in the crowd. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Paris in 1888 is a city of pride and excess inspired by the coming Universal Exposition. Parisians are confident that they live in the seat of Western culture, so when a traveling Wild West show from America arrives, the Native Americans are viewed with fascination and horror. Dr. Phillipe Normand attends the show at the request of his friends the Balise family, whose youngest daughter, Madou, has become infatuated with one of the Indians, "Choice," also called Black Elk. Phillipe and Madou share a cynicism toward romantic love, the superiority of Parisian culture, and, now, a fascination with Choice. The symbolism is a bit heavy-handed, as Choice the man becomes a "choice" that the protagonists must make between their own desires and the mores of their society. Victorian stereotypes about women are also explored, as parents threaten to send troublesome daughters to mental asylums and doctors debate the benefits of ovary removal as a cure for hysteria. There is so much going on that the characters are almost lost, and what could have been a poignant love story is mostly overshadowed by fascinating but superfluous detail. Horsley's third novel (after Confessions of a Pagan Nun and The Changeling) is recommended for larger libraries.-Wendy Bethel, Southwest Pub. Libs., Grove City, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Horsley's dreamy, dark concoction imagines the sojourn of Native-American mystic and healer Black Elk in 19th-century Paris. The connection between Philippe, a serious-minded physician, and Madou, the wild daughter of a well-to-do family, is strong and simple. Both have rejected the allure of love and sex, but likewise disdain middle-class morality. Madou, the more idealistic of the two, longs for spiritual adventure; Philippe, more prosaically, hopes to further the discoveries of medical science (he's a doctor). The introduction of the sly, silent Black Elk into Madou's life jars and upsets Philippe. With time, Black Elk gives him a subtle education in medicine, meaning and his own true nature. Philippe's vocation finally draws him to Black Elk, who is slowly dying of a peculiar homesickness. In the meantime, Madou becomes prey to that most Parisian affliction, love, which will eventually lead to her incarceration in the Salpetriere mental asylum. Horsley (The Changeling, 2005, etc.) has created a work of great philosophical playfulness. What's more, she dresses it in the absinthe-laden glamour of the period and brings to life characters who are no less likable for being hyperbolic. The weakness of the book is in the plotting, which meanders at the whim of the author's philosophical concerns and relies far too much on dreams and hallucinations. An often enjoyable read, but one whose main conflict fails to convince, depriving it of force.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590304204
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/24/2007
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.01 (w) x 7.22 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate Horsley lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and teaches creative writing at Central New Mexico Community College. A poet as well as a novelist, Horsley has a PhD in American Studies and has published five novels. Her book A Killing in a New Town was the winner of the 1996 Western States Book Award for Fiction. 
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