Saturday, December 17, 2011
The Belly of Paris
I just read Zola's The Belly of Paris in a new translation by Mark Kurlansky. It's the topic for the next meeting of the culinary history book club I belong to.
What a masterpiece! The perceived conflict between thin people (who crave social justice) and fat people (mainly the small shopkeepers of the area) is presented vividly. The descriptions of the sights and smells of the market combine perfectly with the pettiness of the characters and their escalating quarrels. The market itself is the central image, along with the streets all around. The map above (from here) shows all the little streets that he mentions.