Book Review: ‘Forbidden Cities’ by Paula Morris


Three books in and I’m not finished my Morris-a-thon yet. I get a bit like that. At aged 7 it was Garfield. Aged 17 it was Plath. Aged 21, the Beat Generation. Aged 28, The Rolling Stones. And at 32 it was the Lost Generation and Paris in the 20s. I love reading or listening to everything I can by, and about, one author or one band. I love being able to recreate lives and times through a particular artist’s work and to feel the borders of my personal world bend and stretch outwards with new understanding. Paula Morris isn’t quite an ‘obsession’ to the level that F. Scott Fitzgerald is, but her voice has driven me to read three of her works and leaves me with a desire for more.  Continue reading

Tangerines and Cherry Brandy

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.

– A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Rue Descartes, Paris

Rue Descartes, Paris

The street narrows and the air shifts; a thick fog of ghost-words descends from the second floor apartment, wrapping around me like a silk scarf. This must be the place.

Continue reading

Living Well is the Best Revenge

I am finally here: Paris, Paris, Paris! The last time I was here was in 2001 for work. I spent three days trotting and tripping up the cobbled streets of the fashionable districts in heels, heaving around a satchel of my models’ work to present to agents. It was July. I was sweaty and my feet hurt. The agents were haughty. But Paris is the holy grail of a model’s career; one had to make the effort, you see.

But that was then. In this life, I’m here with my husband and children, seeing La Ville Lumière through the gauze of my obsession with the Lost Generation and the literature and art of 1920s and 1930s Paris. At that time Americans, jaded from the carnage of World War One (not to mention far too sober due to prohibition), flocked to Paris to write, paint, drink, and live a beautiful life. Many of my heroes were there – Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, Picasso, Sara and Gerald Murphy*, John Dos Passos, and of course Ernest Hemingway.

Continue reading