Paris: A Love Story

Paris: A Love Story

3.6 38
by Kati Marton
     
 

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This is a memoir for anyone who has ever fallen in love in Paris, or with Paris.

PARIS: A LOVE STORY

is for anyone who has ever had their heart broken or their life upended.

In this remarkably honest and candid memoir, award-winning journalist and distinguished author Kati Marton narrates an impassioned and romantic…  See more details below

Overview

This is a memoir for anyone who has ever fallen in love in Paris, or with Paris.

PARIS: A LOVE STORY

is for anyone who has ever had their heart broken or their life upended.

In this remarkably honest and candid memoir, award-winning journalist and distinguished author Kati Marton narrates an impassioned and romantic story of love, loss, and life after loss. Paris is at the heart of this deeply moving account. At every stage of her life, Marton finds beauty and excitement in Paris, and now, after the sudden death of her husband, Richard Holbrooke, the city offers a chance for a fresh beginning. With intimate and nuanced portraits of Peter Jennings, the man to whom she was married for fifteen years and with whom she had two children, and Holbrooke, with whom she found enduring love, Marton paints a vivid account of an adventuresome life in the stream of history. Inspirational and deeply human, Paris: A Love Story will touch every generation.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Saturated with sadness, regret, and Hemingway, Marton’s (Wallenberg: The Incredible True Story) memoir of widowhood after the death of husband Richard Holbrooke recalls how Paris offered her the peace and salve she needed to assuage a broken heart. A refugee from Hungary with her family in 1957, Paris was where Marton attended university during the tumultuous late 1960s; as a foreign correspondent with ABC News in the 1970s, the city served as a base for her work, and was also where she and anchorman Peter Jennings conducted their love affair before marrying in 1979. Fleeing that marriage in 1993 after two children (Jennings is described as cold and manipulative), Marton found a warm, willing relationship with Holbrooke, then U.S. ambassador to Germany, with Paris as the meeting place in their busy lives. Married in her native Budapest in 1995, the couple jet-setted all over the world, especially to war-torn sites, as Holbrooke brokered the peace in Bosnia and later was named special U.S. envoy to Afghanistan. His sudden death by a heart attack in 2010 struck a terrible blow, and Marton retreated again to Paris, where she and Holbrooke had purchased a pied-à-terre in the Latin Quarter in 2005 and where she now found solace. Filled with details of a life richly lived, Marton’s memoir has a requisite, wooden feel, as if publicly making the necessary gestures without being emotionally present. Agent, Amanda Urban. (Aug.)
Newsweek/The Daily Beast
Like . . . Didion, Joyce Carol Oates. . . . The book, short and intimate, reads like the wind from the urgency of the opening scene.
Susan Cheever
Steve Coll
"Kati Marton is a writer of great clarity and grace. Paris: A Love Story is a revealing memoir about the contours of her own humanity, rendered with precision and honesty. It is a memorable story of love, loss and landscape that is as expansive as her remarkable life."
From the Publisher
"Kati Marton is a writer of great clarity and grace. Paris: A Love Story is a revealing memoir about the contours of her own humanity, rendered with precision and honesty. It is a memorable story of love, loss and landscape that is as expansive as her remarkable life." —Steve Coll, author of Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power

“A great read—the lightness of love, the drama of war and sudden death—with Paris in the background.” —Diane von Furstenberg

“Like the others—Didion, Joyce Carol Oates, and Abigail Thomas, to name a few—Marton defies the conventional wisdom that good writing is Wordsworthian emotion recollected in tranquility; she seems to be writing the story as it is happening. The book, short and intimate, reads like the wind from the urgency of the opening scene. ... Great writing is often about yearning, yearning for a lost place, a lost love, or just a lost moment in time. Marton knows a lot about longing for the past. ... This book feels like her way of keeping Richard Holbrooke alive if only on the page. It works.” —Susan Cheever, Newsweek/The Daily Beast

“Kati Marton has written movingly about her love, loss, and the healing power of an elegant city. She takes readers on a journey, as she writes, to find a place where there is joy in remembered joy.” —Diane Sawyer

“I stayed up last night and read this book cover to cover. I can’t remember the last time I did that. It is wonderful—touching, romantic and honest—and oh, how it made me want to go to Paris!” —Barbara Walters

“Marton offers an intimate look at her adventurous life in a book that is part romance, part travelogue, and part memoir of journalism and diplomacy.” —Booklist

“Paris provides a backdrop for this absorbing memoir of love and painful loss, played out on the larger stage of world politics….On a first-name basis with the political movers and shakers on a global stage, Marton has observed world politics in the making and makes space for readers on her catbird seat.” —Kirkus Reviews

Vogue
"[A] must-read . . . enthralling"
The Washington Post
“Kati Marton has lived a thrilling and turbulent life. … She fell in love with and married two famous men. … She has been an eyewitness to history in all its cruelty. … [I]n this memoir … she grapples with an unexpected new stage of life: widowhood. … [A] delicious read by a well-connected author."
Newsweek/The Daily Beast - Susan Cheever
“Like . . . Didion, Joyce Carol Oates. . . . The book, short and intimate, reads like the wind from the urgency of the opening scene."
Barbara Walters
“I stayed up last night and read this book cover to cover. I can’t remember the last time I did that. It is wonderful—touching, romantic and honest—and oh, how it made me want to go to Paris!”
Diane von Furstenberg
“A great read—the lightness of love, the drama of war and sudden death—with Paris in the background.”
Library Journal
Paris is really important to journalist/author Marton (Enemies of the People). There she studied as a college student in the explosive year of 1968; researched her family's escapeto France from Communist Hungary; served as ABC bureau chief in a career break-through; met her first husband, Peter Jennings; and then met her second husband, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, finally returning to Paris to mourn his death. A distinctive view of the City of Light.
Kirkus Reviews
Paris provides a backdrop for this absorbing memoir of love and painful loss, played out on the larger stage of world politics. While walking the streets of Paris, former NPR and ABC News correspondent Marton (Enemies of the People: My Family's Journey to America, 2009, etc.) mourns her husband, Richard Holbrooke, who died suddenly in 2010. She writes about "experiencing the fluctuating rhythms of loss…grief crashing against a sudden zeal for life," as she remembers the times she and Holbrooke visited their favorite city. She reminisces about her first trip there as a student, at the age of 18, and her return a decade later as a foreign correspondent heading ABC's Bonn news bureau. Conducting a passionate though tortured relationship with news anchor Peter Jennings, she would rendezvous with him in Paris between covering events in European hotspots. Despite suffering from a traumatic separation from her parents (during their imprisonment by the Hungarian government), a painful divorce from Jennings and Holbrooke's death, the author writes of the moments when she is "filled with joy" at her good fortune in having been loved. The highlights of her story include her time in Bonn, during which she interviewed spies in Berlin, traveled to a Palestinian refugee camp, and covered political kidnappings by terrorists, and her later experience hosting notables during Holbrooke's stint as U.N. ambassador. On a first-name basis with the political movers and shakers on a global stage, Marton has observed world politics in the making and makes space for readers on her catbird seat.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451691566
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
08/14/2012
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
322,439
File size:
17 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

Read an Excerpt

Paris: A Love Story

CHAPTER ONE


Like a human snowplow, I surge against the flow of chanting, banner-waving students pouring into the boulevard St.-Germain. I am determined to get to the Café de Flore before Richard does. My husband has flown all night from Kabul on a military plane. I am merely crossing from the fifth into the sixth arrondissement. As he shuttles between Washington, Kabul, and Islamabad, we have little time together; minutes matter. But this is the Latin Quarter, and it is October, the season of student manifestations. Les manifs are a routine feature of my Parisian neighborhood, and I usually enjoy their high-spirited revolutionary theater. Not today. The students have blocked traffic on St.-Germain and prevented Richard’s car from reaching our apartment on the rue des Écoles.

Hot and sweaty, I arrive at the terrace of the Flore. Richard is already there and, as usual these days, he is on the phone. As he is looking up, his smile momentarily lifts travel fatigue from his features. “You’re late!” he says, a hand covering the phone. He hangs up, and we kiss. Then we exhale in unison from sheer relief that we are together—and in Paris! That is how it has been for the past two years. Days stolen from a devouring job.

Richard takes out his frayed wallet to pay for our citrons pressés. “See,” he says, “it’s still here,” a faded Polaroid of the two of us in the Tuileries Garden taken in 1994, wearing matching expressions of goofy happiness. “And I still have this,” he says, proudly extracting the torn corner of a phone message pad with my sister’s Paris telephone number. In 1993, he tracked me down with that number. His amulette. “You are a ridiculously sentimental man,” I tell him.

Holding hands, we navigate between the green street cleaning machines that are already vacuuming up the debris of the street protest, as we make our way to the rue des Écoles. We have one night together. He will fly to Brussels the next day for a conference he has called on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

On this balmy fall afternoon, we are not thinking about that. It always feels right to meet in the city where we began our life together. Paris is also roughly midway between Washington and the world’s bleakest conflict zone, Richard’s diplomatic beat. Climbing the narrow, creaky stairs to our pied-à-terre reminds us of other lives we have lived—and lives we planned still to live. In Paris, we wrap our little apartment around ourselves like a blanket, and keep the world outside, barely leaving our village tucked in the shadow of the Pantheon. Tonight we have to.

I am in Paris not only to see my husband but also to launch the French edition of my new book. My book party at the American Embassy is the next night, and it will be the first such event that Richard will not attend. On this, our only evening together, we are dining with Ambassador Charles Rivkin and his wife, Susan Tolson, the hosts of my book event.

Entering the Left Bank restaurant a few hours later, we smile at the sight of a giant poster of my book cover on the glass front door. Several diners acknowledge Richard’s presence with discreet nods. He and I exchange looks of mutual pleasure and pride.

I recall a lurking feeling that things were going too well for us last year. My new book had the best reviews I ever had and I had been named a National Book Critics Circle finalist. Our children were leading productive lives, Lizzie working for the United Nations in Haiti, Chris writing his first book, Richard’s sons, David and Anthony, grown, with beautiful children of their own. Richard had the toughest assignment of his career, but it was work he loved.

I am not a prayerful person. But I recall praying in mid-2010, Please God, don’t let anything bad happen to us. This is my superstitious Hungarian side, that you are punished if you are too happy. When my late-night fears circled, my first thought was for my children. My husband was indestructible. He would always be there to pick up the pieces.

The distant war reaches out for Richard even during dinner. His phone rings and he leaves the table to talk. His soufflé—the restaurant’s specialty—is cold and flat when he returns. His phone rings again and he answers again. This time I scold him. “You are being rude.” He glowers at me and squeezes my hand hard. “You have no idea what’s going on,” he answers. “There is always something going on,” I protest. The ambassador notes Richard’s grip and shoots his wife a look. My husband catches himself. “Try this.” He offers me a forkful of his freshly remade cheese soufflé. A peace offering. I shake my head. “Oh please, it’s so good,” he coaxes me. I relent and he does not answer the next call.

Walking home from the rue de Sèvres, we stop in front of the beautiful Romanesque church of St.-Germain-des-Prés, which anchors this neighborhood. But his phone rings again and I am left to remember alone when I first learned about Romanesque churches from Richard, seventeen years ago, when we fell in love in this city.

•   •   •

I get up early the next morning. He appears a few hours later, looking sheepish and like an unkempt boy. “You are so disciplined,” he says, finding me with my nose in a book, taking notes. “I have to be,” I answer. “I am not as quick as you. Come,” I say, patting the couch where I am sprawled. “Let’s read together.” Richard has two books in his briefcase, which have traveled back and forth to Afghanistan with him for months: Rudyard Kipling’s Kim and John le Carré’s Our Kind of Traitor. “No, I’m going to buy you a new outfit for your book party,” he announces.

Both books are still on his nightstand in the rue des Écoles—unfinished.

Shopping in Paris is one of our rituals. It is the only place in the world Richard enjoys shopping. Our closets are full of Parisian purchases spanning the last decade and a half. In a chic Right Bank boutique, I parade several beautiful suits and dresses. Richard looks up from the phone and nods at the velvet suit I am modeling. “That color looks good on you,” he says. “C’est aubergine, monsieur,” the saleslady interjects. Richard has spotted some shoes of the same shade and, still on the phone, signals the lady to bring those, too. I decline the cashmere overcoat, the color of cream, that he drapes on my shoulder. “Let’s get a coffee,” I say, our time together nearly up.

On the rue de Rivoli, we squeeze into a crowded café terrace, Richard looking for shade, me for a sunny spot. “I’m sorry I can’t stay for your book party,” he says. “That’s the end of your perfect attendance record for four books,” I answer. “But you know I came just to be with you,” he says. “It won’t always be like this,” he promises. The black embassy car is at the curb; the driver is holding the door open. We kiss. It is our last time together in Paris.

From the café on the rue de Rivoli it is a short stroll to the W. H. Smith bookstore, where I now head. On the front table I see Bob Woodward’s new book, Obama’s Wars. I buy a copy and head back out into the October sunshine. At the Tuileries Garden, across the street, I pull up a wrought-iron chair and flip to the index. Holbrooke, R.: a great many listings. I turn to the one that also lists me. A wave of anger and disbelief washes over me as I read. According to Woodward, the president soured on Richard when my husband asked him to call him Richard, not Dick, at the ceremony appointing him special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. “For Kati,” Richard explained, “who is in the audience, and who doesn’t like ‘Dick.’”

How could the president—who once requested that his friends not call him “Barry”—hold this against Richard? I am too agitated to sit for another minute in the sunny gardens. Embarrassed that I made such a big deal of my preference for Richard over Dick, a fact I made clear to him the minute we met, in 1985. Angry that such a trivial matter would turn the president against the man he just assigned his toughest foreign policy job. And then, as I head toward the Seine and home, I am overwhelmed by love for a man who would use his precious one-on-one with the commander in chief to ask a favor, for his wife! No wonder he never mentioned the Woodward book, nor brought a copy home. He was trying to protect me—as always. I have an urge to run after the limousine speeding him now to a military base outside Paris—to tell him I love him, one more time.

•   •   •

Aside from my superstitious fear that things were going too well for us, there were no signs, no portents of tragedy looming. He played tennis over Thanksgiving weekend in Southampton. We did a marathon of movies, his favorite pastime. But if I believed in signs, there was one. As Richard packed to return to Washington on that Sunday, he searched frantically for his wallet. We looked in all the usual places, emptied all pockets in his closet, and moved the bed and chest of drawers. No sign. Oh well, he said, it’ll turn up. It always has.

I returned to New York, Richard to Washington. Every time he called, he asked if his wallet had turned up. There was no money in it. He had already canceled his credit cards and replaced his security passes. Still, he was agitated that it had not turned up, as it always had in the past. Why are you so upset? I finally asked him. “It’s the picture of us in the Tuileries, and your sister’s telephone number,” he said. “I’ve had them since 1994.” The wallet has still not turned up. Like Richard, it disappeared.

He disappeared. That is how it seems to me. I had assumed that death would be a gradual transition, a passage after long illness, and sad, unhurried good-byes. Not a midlife thunderclap.

One and a half hours before his collapse we were making our Christmas plans on the phone. We were finally getting away. I made him laugh when I described an incident in the news about an overzealous Homeland Security agent at LaGuardia, accused of groping by a diplomat we did not particularly like. An international incident was in the making—though compared to the life-and-death issues on which Richard spent every waking hour, a minor one. “Oh, it feels so good to laugh,” Richard said. Just one more week, I said. “Well, don’t bother coming to Washington this weekend,” he said. “I’ll be at the White House for the president’s year-end review. Got to go meet with David Axelrod at the White House, then Hillary at State. Love you.”

Love you, too.

When he called an hour and a half later I barely recognized his voice. “I feel a pain I have never felt,” he said from the ambulance, en route to the George Washington University Hospital emergency room. This voice of deep pain was not one I had ever heard. “I have no feeling in my legs,” he said. There was fear in my husband’s voice. “I am on my way!” I shouted over the siren’s wail. Those were my last words to Richard.

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What People are saying about this

Diane von Furstenberg
“A great read—the lightness of love, the drama of war and sudden death—with Paris in the background.”
Barbara Walters
“I stayed up last night and read this book cover to cover. I can’t remember the last time I did that. It is wonderful—touching, romantic and honest—and oh, how it made me want to go to Paris!”
Newsweek/The Daily Beast - Susan Cheever
“Like . . . Didion, Joyce Carol Oates. . . . The book, short and intimate, reads like the wind from the urgency of the opening scene.

Meet the Author

Kati Marton is the author of True Beliver: Stalin's American Spy; Enemies of the People: My Family’s Journey to America, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist; The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World; Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages That Shaped Our History; Wallenberg; and The Polk Conspiracy; and A Death in Jerusalem. She is an award-winning former NPR and ABC News correspondent. She lives in New York City.

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Paris: A Love Story 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
CCGeer More than 1 year ago
I read the entire book without putting it down. Ms. Marton, a fascinating woman, wrote a loving tribute to her late husband in the most poignant telling. Furthermore, she details her relationship with her previous husband, and father of her children, the late Peter Jennings. It's no wonder that both her husbands were quite taken with her, admitted flaws and all. Enjoyed it immensely.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to like this book. Author survives communist repression of family and death of loved one by returning to her beloved Paris roots. There is just one problem with this: the author is completely unlikeable in almost every respect. She is basically a self-absorbed narcissist, who used men to get ahead, and cheated on both her husbands. I wanted to hear about the inner workings of ABC News or even the Serbia-Bosnia Peace Treaty, but instead all I got was her social whirl through Washington society and descriptions of her fabulous dinner parties. On top of that she is an inveterate name dropper of the worst sort…Hillary, Barbara, Barak and everyone else she can throw at you to let you know just how many rich and powerful types she knows. The worst part is that she has no scruples about any of this…traveling around the world on ABC’s dime to chase Peter Jennings and finally gets warned that she could lose her job, but never realizing she was cheating her employers and shamelessly pursing Jennings. Then she cannot get along with him because he is high maintenance as if she isn’t, but only desires that the spotlight be on her and not Jennings. Then when the marriage is breaking and up and Peter asks her to give him till spring to try and put it back together she hops in a car with Holbrooke for a one week vacation about one day after Peter made that statement. Amoral, or just immoral, but she has no scruples or even respect for the people she married, even cheating on Holbrooke endlessly, but of course he forgives her since basically “it is all about her.” Do yourself a favor and if you want to enjoy something Parisian watch Midnight in Paris or go get a good travel book and don’t waste your time on this drivel from an upper crust self-absorbed fool.
seabrooker More than 1 year ago
Her writings on dealing with loss and grief were moving. The rest of it made me think she was not someone I would want as a friend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Would not recommend this book to anyone!  Seems to be a self absorbed attempt to justify her life while emphasizing her importance and bravado in the world of journalism and politics. It should be titled more as a biography of the life of Kati Marton and not be considered a book about Paris, which gives the reader a false impression that it was truly centered only there.  Just not a fan!
Barbaraketubah More than 1 year ago
Interesting to read Kati Marton's story, bringing in other people who I definitely heard about, especially Peter Jennings. She gave more of an in depth idea of what Mr. Jennings was like and she really found her true companion in her second husband, Holbrook who unfortunately passed away.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kati Marton's skills as a journalist and author coupled with the love of her husband, Richard Holebrooke make for an extradordinary memoir. Kati takes one into her life on many levels, including her struggles with her past/her family's past in Hungary and beyond, her husband's interesting life of international involvement, and her many travels independently and with her husband. The book proved to be interesting and touching.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very odd book by woman who cheats on 3 husbands, leaves her husband of 15 years, Peter Jennings, and children on the spur of the moment on Christmas to go on a 5 day road trip with the man who becomes her 3rd husband. Impossible to follow time line or figure out who cares for the Jenning children as she roams the world with Richard Holbrooke until he dies (also cheats on him). Boring and unsavory.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The experiences of Marton's life combined with her deft writing style have all the makings for a fascinating memoir. Unfortunately her overwhelming ego hijacks the telling, and instead we end up with the equivalent of an extended airline magazine story. Reading this is like the mental equivalent of sitting on furniture protected by vinyl covering. If it showed up in Hemispheres magazine, it would keep you pleasantly distracted between New York and Chicago, but I can't really recommend spending money on it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lllllllllllllllllllllllllooooooooooooooovvvvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeee ttttttttttttiiiiiiiiiiiiiisssssssss bbbbbbbbbboooooooooooooookkkkkkkkkk
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Roslyn0 More than 1 year ago
This was a fascinating book to read because it takes you behind the scenes of newsmakers from the 1960s’ to current times. Kati Marton is an award-winning journalist and distinguished author. Although the book centers on her emotional life, with two of her famous husbands, Peter Jennings and diplomat Richard Holbrooke it gives us Paris through her eyes as student, a journalist, a mother, a dignitary, and as a woman in love. Kati Marton studied there in 1968 when she was in college. She served as an ABC correspondent in Europe and met Peter Jennings in Paris. After that marriage broke up, she meets Richard Holbrooke, and they bought a pied-a-terra in Paris. Marton describes her marriages in depth, showing the men as extremely complex and difficult to live with. There is also the political and cultural world that she and her husbands travel in with so many famous people. In addition, to the wonderful photos of the eras, there are numerous descriptions of restaurants, cafés, hotels, parks, shops and glamorous homes, that played a part in the life of this journalist, author and socialite. The various anecdotes she shares with the reader, especially her interactions with Hilary Clinton are spellbinding. Kati's dinner parties sound alluring. There are many historical autobiographical details about her Hungarian family’s surviving the Nazis, and then being imprisoned by the Communists. They are finally released and the family escapes to America. I found this book to be exactly what I thought it would be, the memoirs of a woman’s loves and losses with Paris as the background. Even though it is a true memoir, for those of us living an ordinary life it’s fantasy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MTDIVA More than 1 year ago
I love Paris and I love this book! Kati Marton gives us an intimite and honest peek into her exciting life as a journalist, and her marriages to two very important and influential men - Peter Jennings and Richard Holbrooke. She touches on important historical events she witnessed and the powerful people she encounters along the way. She writes with humility and respect and reverence of others. She writes from her heart and it easily comes across in her gifted writing style. She is unpretentious and real. Kati Morton is someone you'd love to invite to coffee and hear more about her fascinating life! My book club is planning a "Paris Night" to celebrate the "City of Lights" and this fabulous book!!! I not only thoroughly enjoyed this book, but learned some history along the way! Highly HIGHLY recommended!!! THANK YOU KATI!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much. I think thing the research detail were excellent. I didn't want to lay it down once I started reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found the book very interesting and I would recommend it. A very good read!
SPA More than 1 year ago
I purchased this audio book based on the title so I was surprised that it was a true story about Kati Marton, Peter Jennings and Richard Holbrooke and her marriages to them. I can't say that it was great but it was easy to listen to and enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it her havin 3 husbands
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ive always loved paris so im gonna enjoy this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book! What an incredible life Kati Marton has had and she's still going strong.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago