Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris
Edmund White was forty-three years old when he moved to Paris in 1983. He spoke no French and knew just two people in the entire city, but soon discovered the anxieties and pleasures of mastering a new culture. White fell passionately in love with Paris, its beauty in the half-light and eternal mists; its serenity compared with the New York he had known. Intoxicated and intellectually stimulated by its culture, he became the definitive biographer of Jean Genet, wrote lives of Marcel Proust and Arthur Rimbaud, and became a recipient of the French Order of Arts and Letters. Frequent trips across the Channel to literary parties in London begot friendships with Julian Barnes, Alan Hollinghurst, Martin Amis and many others. When he left, fifteen years later, to return to the US, he was fluent enough to broadcast on French radio and TV, and as a journalist had 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 whom he'd come to a deeper understanding of French life. Inside a Pearl vividly recalls those fertile years, and offers a brilliant examination of a city and a culture eternally imbued with an aura of enchantment.
A literary treat: a memoir of Edmund White's years among the cultural and intellectual elite of 1980s Paris
City Boy seems effortless in its tone; it is seamless, wise, funny and charming. Edmund White evokes the main players in the culture of the city, all of whom he knew, with clarity and with brilliantly-chosen detail and sense of the moment Colm Toibin A wonderful deepening and broadening of Edmund White's great life-work ... Everything he says about love and friendship is so penetrating and true. A marvellous book Alan Hollinghurst Edmund White is one of the best writers of my generation; he's certainly the contemporary American writer I reread more than any other, and the one whose next book I look forward to reading most John Irving Edmund White is one of the three or four most virtuosic living writers of sentences in the English language Dave Eggers
Edmund White is the author of many novels, including the classic A Boy's Own Story and the most recent Jack Holmes & His Friend; two previous memoirs, My Lives and City Boy; biographies of Jean Genet, Marcel Proust, and Arthur Rimbaud; and several other works of non-fiction, including The Flaneur. He lives in New York City and teaches writing at Princeton University.