vendredi 21 mars 2008

Petite Anglaise

Petite Anglaise is all about Catherine, a British thirty something living in Paris with her French partner, hidden under the pseudonym Mr. Frog and their two year old daughter Tadpole. Despite having dreamt most of her youth of living in Paris, Catherine is deeply unhappy with her domestic life and routine. To alleviate her boredom, she decides to create a blog about her life in Paris. Hence, Petite Anglaise is born on the web. Originally designed to be a light and funny blog with a fish out of water theme, it soon evolves into an online diary of sorts for Catherine, who uses it to vent, to explore and express all her bitterness and dissatisfaction in life. Needless to say, she attracts hordes of readers with her stories and it isn’t long before she becomes involved with a new man (no surprise that it is a reader of hers) who turns her life upside down.
Despite being a first time writer, Catherine Sanderson writes with a light and witty tone. It is compulsively readable and the pages fly by. Its earlier incarnation as blog entries helps explain the easy tone of the book. It is also, what distinguishes it from a number of other expatriate themed books. It is a commendable effort on her part that the book’s tone never descends to high drama despite its coverage of a personally distressing time in her life. Through her prose, one gets a sense of a real person struggling to make sense of the upheavals that she has willingly brought upon herself.
What I particularly liked about the book is the almost palpable love of the author for Paris. More than being beautifully described, the author’s Paris is lovingly described with familiar streets and cafes made memorable by her experiences in each place. In fact it is safe to say that Paris is a major character in the book. It is also through these descriptions of the city and city life that readers are able to get a sense of an expatriate life. Her personal story aside, it is a recurring theme of the book that Catherine is always trying to find a place for herself in this city, which is not often easy. Certainly it is a theme that most people can identify with. Fittingly enough the book ends on a hopeful note and for fans of Catherine it is a very welcome one.
P.S. Catherine Sanderson paid us a visit last Sunday and signed copies of her book available at our store. Watch out for a future reading with Catherine!

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