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Paris Out of Hand: A Wayward Guide

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From the author of The Transitive Vampire, comes an invitation to a strangely illuminated City of Light, Paris out of Hand. This seductively beautiful replica of a 19th-century travel book—replete with illustrations of sights you will never see and maps that may plummet you into a different era—guides readers through the Paris that is, that might be, and that never was. Amid the Parisian locales you know and love, unheard-of temptations abound. If your visit to the Cafe Conjugal ends in a spat, you can make up at...

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Overview

From the author of The Transitive Vampire, comes an invitation to a strangely illuminated City of Light, Paris out of Hand. This seductively beautiful replica of a 19th-century travel book—replete with illustrations of sights you will never see and maps that may plummet you into a different era—guides readers through the Paris that is, that might be, and that never was. Amid the Parisian locales you know and love, unheard-of temptations abound. If your visit to the Cafe Conjugal ends in a spat, you can make up at the luscious and fantastic Museum of Lips and Books. From the disconcerting Brasserie Loplop, steal your chair for the Cinema Pont Neuf, whose movies flow onto the Seine. Your curiosity sated for the day, check into Hotel des Etrangers, where phantoms change the sheets and your room in the middle of the night. Unhandy glossaries help you talk your way through these provocative encounters, with such apropos comments as J'aimerais sortir avec votre hyene pour boire un verre (I'd like to take your hyena out for a drink). A rare and rowdy entertainment that dares its readers to explore a Paris one can only wish existed.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Columbus Dispatch
To the immortal health of Karen Elizabeth Gordon's Paris Out of Hand, the most entertaining nonfiction book I've read all year. Her delirium of prose stands out among the year's best fiction, too...The book — cartwheeling over so many issues of design, color, art history, stand-up comedy and performance art that I must remind myself that it is a lo-and-behold book — provides a mischievous, faux travelogue of a brightly imagined Paris. Paris Out of Hand is told and sung through fiction, fakery and the bold interplay of words and images....Everything in her City by the Seine is surreal, magical, and possible: At the Hotel Helias, "Paris' answer to the Heartbreak Hotel," handkerchiefs are handed out with room keys; and chocolate, because of it's euphoric and erotic properties is strictly forbidden.

The sustained performance is one of grins and asides, in which the allusions to France, literature, the artists of the old Left Bank, come in buckets; one can sip and dip at leisure.

Karen Elizabeth Gordon, Barbara Hodgson, and Nick Bantock collaborated on the writing, illustration, and design of Paris out of Hand.

...The book — cartwheeling over so many issues of design, color, art history, stand-up comedy and performance art that I must remind myself that it is a lo-and-behold book — provides a mischievous, faux travelogue of a brightly imagined Paris. Columbus Dispatch

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The conceit behind this playful, charming spoof of a book is as simple and bizarre as a Magritte painting: it is a guide to an imaginary Paris, complete with fake hotel listings, off-the-wall travel advice and restaurant recommendations that aim more at literary than culinary edification. In Gordon's Paris, tourists may stop at the Grand Hotel des Echecs, home to a clientele made up of chess lovers and losers ("echecs" means both "chess" and "failures" in French); dine at the Caf Dada, where one inserts food into an Automat and is fed foreign coins in return; or take in a film at the Cinma l'Ange des Sables, which shows only movies shot in the desert. "Ici on parle angoisse" ("Anguish spoken here"), Gordon informs us of one hotel. Admirers of Gordon's previous work, which includes the popular grammar handbook The Transitive Vampire and the novel The Red Shoes and Other Tattered Tales, will not be surprised to find her drawing heavily on the work of such writers as Paul Valry, Guillaume Apollinaire and Raymond Queneau for her wealth of puns, wordplay and double-entendres. This is not a book to read cover to cover, but rather to dip into when the appetite strikes. When the absurdist humor gets too coy or heavy-handed, readers may refresh themselves by studying the surrealist collages and illustrations illuminating every page. Meticulously drawn, finely detailed and brimming with whimsy, they are happily reminiscent of those in Bantock's own Griffin & Sabine books. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811809696
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 8/1/1996
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 7.25 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Nick Bantock is the author of numerous illustrated novels, including Griffin & Sabine, Sabine's Notebook, The Golden Mean, The Gryphon, and Alexandria, which together spent 100 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. Born in England, he now

Karen Elizabeth Gordon is the fanciful and immensely talented author of The Transitive Vampire and The Well-Tempered Sentence.

Barbara Hodgson is a Vancouver-based writer, photographer, and designer. Her illustrated novels include The Tattooed Map, The Sensualist, and Hippolyte's Island.

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