A Waiter in Paris

Adventures in the Dark Heart of the City

By Edward Chisholm

This is an unputdownable story of the author’s trials and travails in ‘The City of Light’ – Paris. The only other book I can compare it to is ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ by George Orwell, which was fascinating and utterly grim at the same time. Edward Chisholm manages both those things and adds a wonderful, self deprecating, noir sense of humour coupled with a sensitive understanding of his fellow waiters. I feel as if I am the fly on the wall, the voyeur who keeps on looking, unable to tear his eyes away from what is going on.

This all happened within the last eight years.

The book also reminded me of my own adventures in Paris. A different era, the early sixties. Looking back, it certainly forged parts of my personality that I still recognise as coming from being sent on my own, via the boat train from Victoria, on what was to become an eye opening experience at the age of sixteen.

Primarily, I was sent to learn French and ended up without the supervision my mother was expecting from a French lycée in the summer holidays.

Unlike the author, I did have ‘O’ level French, which both got me into and out of various risky situations. My mother didn’t like ‘abroad’ so I owe a lot to a friend of my father’s, a French woman called Ninette, who organised my first trip to the city she was born in and later left – to marry an Englishman. I regret that I never even thanked her because at the time I was a typical, navel gazing teenager. ‘J’ai eu de la chance’, even though I didn’t know it.

As well as enjoying the unexpurgated freedom of exploring Paris, I also realised that life was a lot more fun if you could speak French, so I’ve kept that up over the years. Everyone should be able to speak at least one other language. It opens so many doors.

This is Edward Chisholm’s first book (with a wonderful jacket photo) and I do hope it has success. I feel very much on his wavelength and impressed by his perseverance against multiple odds. I became absolutely obsessed by his story.

‘Chapeau’, Ed. A sparkling début – may your success continue.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.