|A visitor to the Ann Arbor Art Fair, the best summer event in our town|
Celebrating Paris and Ann Arbor this week
The Martins was published in France in October, 2020, and published here as a Kindle edition in June, 2022. I read it this week. It's a nice little book about an author (the story’s unnamed narrator) who decides to write a novel about the next person he sees on the street near his apartment. He randomly chooses Madeleine, a woman around 80 years old; in his interview process to create characters from "real" people, he also gets to know her daughter Valerie Martin, Valerie's husband Patrick Martin, and their two adolescent children.
Within a day, the narrator/author is brought into the lives of the five people in the family. Each one asks him to help with some central problem in their life, and he soon takes responsibility for deeply personal problems, or at least tries to help out with tricky situations. In particular, Madeleine confides in him about a passionate affair that she had in her early twenties, ages before she met her husband (Valerie’s father). He had abruptly left her and moved to California.
The narrator, helpfully, finds the lost lover on Facebook, contacts him and within days accompanies Madeleine to LA to meet him once more after some 60 years. Meanwhile, the narrator is also involved to some extent in straightening out problems of the others, or at least attempting to do so. In the process, he finds plenty of material for the novel he was writing in his unusual information-seeking exercise. It’s a sweet little story — all happy but not fake happy like a lot of ordinary novels. I found it strangely plausible and not phony!
I read The Martins as part of my July reading project, looking for books about Paris by French people, seeking a French point of view about life in Paris. One of the other bloggers participating in Paris in July is Emma who blogs at Words and Peace. She reviewed this book yesterday, and she called the book "a great social window on French society: from Patrick and his crazy boss, to the two teenagers of the family, with a picture perfect of young people and their trauma at that difficult age." Just what I was seeking, though I had almost finished the book when I read her review.
Now for more photos of the Ann Arbor Art Fair. We found that the art works this year weren’t nearly as tempting as they have been in the past. We did not buy from any of the artists. In fact, I didn’t even find much art to take photos of — I concentrated on hats! Here goes:
Art fair photos and review © 2022 mae sander