I'm in the mood for things French at the moment and this collection of writings about Paris seemed like an ideal way to indulge myself. The work consists of chapters, each of which contains an extract from a literary work in which Paris features in some way. Generally the pieces are set in Paris and are about Paris, although one of them - an extract from [b:Madame Bovary|2175|Madame Bovary|Gustave Flaubert|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1335676143s/2175.jpg|2766347] - is about Emma Bovary's desire to go to Paris. At the beginning of each chapter Robertson provides biographical information about the author of the excerpt and gives details about geographical locations mentioned by the writer. The latter feature of the work would probably have worked better if I had not been reading the book on a e-reader. Although the geographical information is separated from the literary text by an obvious heading at the beginning, the end of the editorial information and the resumption of the text isn't signalled in any way. It's not difficult to work out, but it's not set out in a very reader-friendly way, which I presume is not the case in the hard copy edition.
I skimmed or skipped several of the chapters because I had recently read the books from which they come: Charles Dickens' [b:A Tale of Two Cities|1953|A Tale of Two Cities|Charles Dickens|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1344922523s/1953.jpg|2956372], Victor Hugo's [b:Les Misérables|24280|Les Misérables|Victor Hugo|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327702573s/24280.jpg|3208463], Ernest Hemingway's [b:A Moveable Feast|4631|A Moveable Feast|Ernest Hemingway|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1356407015s/4631.jpg|2459084] and David Sedaris' [b:Me Talk Pretty One Day|4137|Me Talk Pretty One Day|David Sedaris|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348075302s/4137.jpg|1030767]. (Okay, I skimmed Dickens, Hugo and Hemingway, I skipped Sedaris!). A couple I didn't particular enjoy, such as extracts from Katherine Davis' [b:Capturing Paris: A Novel|379064|Capturing Paris A Novel|Katharine Davis|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1316635557s/379064.jpg|368883] and Henry James' [b:The Ambassadors|775366|The Ambassadors|Henry James|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1191378040s/775366.jpg|1395409]. Others I liked a lot, particularly extracts from Jack Kerouac's [b:Satori In Paris|247998|Satori In Paris (Flamingo Modern Classics)|Jack Kerouac|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1173116642s/247998.jpg|240291], Colette's [b:Claudine in Paris|1130760|Claudine in Paris|Colette|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1325595212s/1130760.jpg|1536627], MFK Fisher's [b:As They Were|250657|As They Were|M.F.K. Fisher|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348007654s/250657.jpg|1282797] and Anna Gavalda's [b:I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere|47776|I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere|Anna Gavalda|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1309202151s/47776.jpg|892968].
Overall, this is an odd book. While it kept my attention, just because a work mentions Paris is not a particularly good reason to read an extract from it. Further, the chapters don't seem to have been put together with a particular theme in mind. Or at least, the theme is Paris, which is much too big to be contained within bits and pieces much longer literary works. So, while not a disaster, the effect is somewhat unsatisfying. Three stars, though, for the best bits and for introducing me to some writers whose work I want to go back to.