I finally finished Paris: The Novel, by Edward Rutherford – all 805 pages of it! It traces a small group of very diverse families from 1307 to 1968, looking at key events in French history through the lens of how they affected each of these families. On the one hand, I can’t say that it was my favorite book ever. The sprawl was a little too vast and the fact that it was not chronological made the story difficult to follow at times. The dialogue was sometimes a little stilted. Imagine something along the lines of, “This building that we are passing is historically significant because it was where Louis XIV bought his pipe tobacco.” I’m exaggerating, of course, but not much. On the other hand, I did learn a lot of details about events as diverse as the St. Bartholemew Day Massacre and wide-spread mutiny in the trenches of World War I.
Chevauchement (shuh-vowe-shuh-mahn) means overlapping. Drug dealers, madames, nobles, and members of the bourgeoisie could overlap in real life because, as we all know, the truth is often stranger than fiction.