The Belly of Paris

Nick Lander, “Vantre (Not Ventre).” Jancis Robinson, 22 July 2019:

In his recently published and well-reviewed book, the Anglo-French writer turned editor Andrew Gallix explores a fascinating theme.

He quotes Oscar Wilde from The Picture of Dorian Grey: ‘When good Americans die, they move to Paris’.

Gallix’s collection of contributions from over 70 authors is entitled We’ll Never Have Paris. Published by Repeater in the US and Penguin Random House in the UK, his book seeks to explore the myths that surround this wonderfully attractive and romantic city. His thesis is that Paris can just as easily be disappointing as fulfilling.

It is a shame that among all the well-known contributors there is no one whose speciality is writing about restaurants, the phenomenon which Paris at the turn of the 19th century gave to the world, and a common reason why visitors to this website also visit The City of Light.

Beauvilliers, Lavenne and Veron et Baron were three of the most prestigious restaurants in the early 1800s in Paris. As well as the good food and wine they offered, they were also able to provide a further reason for the many British then in Paris to visit them: they offered a rare opportunity to watch the French at play.

Had I been asked to contribute, I am afraid that I would have had to end any paean of praise to Paris and its restaurants on a disappointed note. There are so many good places to eat, so many that evoke happy memories of my times in the city, but I am always at a loss to answer the following question: why are so many open only Monday to Friday and closed at the weekend when most tourists are there?…

We’ll Never Have Paris Book Launch

Joint Parisian book launch for We’ll Never Have Paris and Andrew Hodgson’s Paris collection for Dostoyevsky Wannabe at Shakespeare and Company on 20th June 2019

Andrew Gallix, Laura Waddell, Susana Medina, Fernando Sdrigotti

Andrew Hodgson, Andrew Gallix, Adam Biles (pic by Sam Jordison)

Gerry Feehily, Susana Medina, Sam Jordison, Yelena Moskovich, Ian Monk, Andrew Hodgson, Thom Cuell, Lauren Elkin, Andrew Gallix, Fernando Sdrigotti

Even Kenneth Goldsmith turned up (here pictured Chez Panis)

Me and Kenneth Goldsmith, Chez Panis

Listen to the podcast here or below:

Youth, Politics, Romance and Illness

Max Liu on We’ll Never Have Paris in the Financial Times, 1 June 2019

. . . There is something for most tastes among the 82 contributions, edited by Andrew Gallix. From Nicholas Royle’s mini-thriller “Music for French Films” to the experimentalism of Joanna Walsh’s “The Hanged Man”, there are pieces about youth, politics, illness and romance. Some of the writers, from the UK, US and beyond, live or have lived in Paris. Almost all of them explore the myth of bohemian Paris — “an anglophone construct”, according to Gallix. . . . Readers might come to this book for its celebrated contributors — the novelists Will Self and Tom McCarthy among them — but they should stay for the efforts of its lesser-known lights. . . . Repeater has sensibly published this near 600-page volume as a paperback original that would fit comfortably in your bag as you amble along the boulevards. . . . Paris eludes our attempts to define it, but the range of styles and voices in this book suggests it will always capture writers’ imaginations.

Paris of the Mind

Natasha Lehrer has written an amazing, full-page review of We’ll Never Have Paris for the Times Literary Supplement, 31 May 2019, p. 12

. . . In a fine introduction, the book’s editor Andrew Gallix claims Paris as a product of the anglophone imagination, ‘the locus of an art-life merger. . . It is the place that you have to go to to become, be recognised as, and lead the life of a writer”. . . . Gallix claims that the city is a “sort of neutral meeting ground for writers and readers from across the Anglosphere”, which, though possibly true, is not necessarily or always an entirely good thing for the writing that comes out of it. (Gallix’s own short story, featuring a cruelly plausible intellectual called Sostène Zanzibar, is one of the best pieces in the book — funny, allusive, clever and terribly French). . . .

Standing Room Only

Jordison, Sam. Galley Beggar Press Newsletter, 23 May 2019

Sam Jordison at The Haggerston (pub) before the launch of We’ll Never Have Paris at Burley Fisher Books on 22 May 2019

Meanwhile, a quick dispatch from the literary elsewhere. Last night I helped launch We’ll Never Have Paris at the wonderful Burley Fisher, in That London.

I’m very proud that there are quite a few Galley Beggar writers in it, alongside a very healthy percentage of the writers who are Doing Good Stuff. There are 79 contributors to this collection — and more to the point, it’s fantastic. I had a blast being the MC at the launch. The readings were just great. I was proud to be there. Here’s the view from the stage. Standing room only:

Taken by Sam Jordison

Andrew Gallix, the editor, is one of the pillars of our world. Only Andrew would have had so many fantastic writers so eager to contribute to a project like this one. It’s a fine idea for a book. To write about Paris, but the Paris that doesn’t exist, the Anglophone vision of Paris, the dream of Paris… Anyway, you’ll see how well it works when you dive into its hundreds of pages and see how varied the contributions are. And it’s not just this book, it’s all the fantastic things Andrew — and 3:AM — have done over the years. Among our generation of writers and publishers, there are very few who haven’t been encouraged, helped and published by him. Chances are that he’ll have helped you if you’re a writer or publisher who isn’t quite at home in the big world, who has crazy romantic dreams about Art and Posterity and who instantly understands the 3:AM tagline: whatever it is, we’re against it. Quietly — rarely putting himself in the foreground — but unstoppably, he has moved things forward. In other words, please buy his book — and enjoy it too. Because the other thing Andrew and 3:AM have always been good at is making it fun.