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Impossible City

On sale

11th April 2024

Price: £24.99

Selected:  Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781800818675

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From the bestselling author of Chums comes an explorer’s tale of a naïf eventually getting to understand a complex, glittering, beautiful and often cruel society – at least a little.

Simon Kuper has experienced Paris both as a human being and as a journalist. He has grown middle-aged there, eaten the croissants, seen his wife through life-threatening cancer, taken his children to countless football matches on freezing Saturday mornings in the city’s notorious banlieues, and in 2015 lived through two terrorist attacks on their neighbourhood. Over two decades of becoming something of a cantankerous Parisian himself, Kuper has watched the city change.

This century, it has globalised, gentrified, and been shocked into realising its role as the crucible of civilizational conflict. Sometimes it’s a multicultural paradise, and sometimes it isn’t. This decade, Parisians have lived through a sequence of shocks: terrorist attacks, record floods and heatwaves, the burning of Notre Dame, the storming of the city by gilets jaunes, and then the pandemic. Now, as the Olympics come to town, France is busy executing the “Grand Paris” project: the most serious attempt yet to knit together the bejewelled city with its neglected suburbs.

This is a captivating memoir of the Paris of today, without the Parisian clichés.

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