Upcoming Books: “Paris in the Present Tense” by Mark Helprin

paris in the present tense

I received an ARC of “Paris in the Present Tense” by Mark Helprin. Thank you to W.W. Norton.

I really have a mixed review here. I have heard good things about Helprin’s writing and I was not entirely disappointed on that front. On one side Helprin’s writing is phenomenal. He has this incredible ability to make readers feel like they are inside a character’s mind, almost like they are the character themselves. Having said that about his characters, I feel like the only character I was really drawn to was Jules. His past and the brutal history of his family makes his character extremely attachable. I wanted nothing but good things for his character.

I also had no idea that racial tensions between Jews and Muslims was “a thing” for lack of a better term. The issues discussed in this book made me do my own research to find the sad truth that there are a rising number of assaults on Jews by Muslims tied to the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations and the French state’s refusal to admit such a problem exists. I applaud Helprin for bringing this issue to light by writing this book. For the few remaining Holocaust survivors living in France this must surely feel like a resurgence of a time of hatred that they would rather not experience again.

If you would like to learn more about this issue, I have a few links below that I used when I did my Google search about the topic. These are the most recent news articles but there are more out there. Don’t forget to check your sources.

July 2017 Attack- What is “terrorism”?

Anti-Semitism

Paris- State of Emergency since 2015

Despite the good in this book, I feel like the author is very wordy. There were parts that I could not put down and others that made me want to take a nap. While I appreciate the deeper understanding in this novel, I wish it had not taken me almost 100 pages to get into it. I also wish I had felt some emotional attachment to other characters besides just Jules. I felt like Elodi was a forced character and having removed her from the plot the story would be the same.

Overall, it was not a bad book by any means. For me, however, it was simply “ok” and nothing to rave about, though I am happy with the new insights I gained from reading it.

This book is scheduled to be released for publication in October.

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