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Jim Haynes’s favourite Paris reads

The alternative publisher, university lecturer, counterculture connoisseur and supper club legend shares some literary learning from over 30 years in Paris

Jim Haynes
© Séamas McSwiney

A long-term Paris expat, retired lecturer in sexual politics and media studies Jim Haynes is a bit of a local legend, not least for the Sunday night supper club that he has been running for over 30 years. When asked how he ended up in Paris, he says 'there is a long answer and a short answer. The short answer is that I was invited to be a visiting professor at the newly created University of Paris 8 way back in 1969 and I said OK and here I am still. The long answer is much more complicated and involves Edinburgh, London and Amsterdam. If you are really interested, see my website or read my autobiography, 'Thanks for Coming!''

What Jim's reading right now:

I am looking forward to the next Cara Black, Alan Furst and Martin Walker outpourings. All are to have new books published in spring 2014. I am re-reading John Calder's 'The Garden of Eros' and George Orwell's 'Down and Out in Paris and London'. Orwell keeps you humble.

Jim's recommended Paris reading:

Aimee Leduc investigations by Cara Black
For fun reads, all books by Cara Black. She has written about fourteen novels, all set in a different arrondissement. 'Murder Below Montparnasse', 'Murder on the Ile Saint Louis', 'Murder in The Bastille', etc. etc. You will learn a great deal about Paris.

Bruno, Chief of Police series by Martin Walker
These are strictly speaking not set in Paris but in the Dordogne, but one gets a lot of info about France along the way.

Alan Furst's spy novels

Furst's thirteen plus books are set mainly in Paris just before the second World war, but they are 100% superb. One of his latest, 'Mission to Paris', bristles with plot, characters and atmosphere.

'The Garden of Eros' by John Calder

John Calder is an old friend – he has written a literary history of Paris in the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s.

'Tropic of Cancer' by Henry Miller

And finally I must say I love Henry Miller's 'Tropic of Cancer'. I have read it four times (in my teens in Louisiana), in my 20s in Edinburgh, in my 30s in London and in my 40s in Paris. Same book but different me. I loved it each time. It was published eighty years ago, but I find it as fresh as ever. Hey, it's time for me to read it again...


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