His parallel world while I was in Paris at the same time, 1985/6. All those bars and relationships, the opposite of my life. No studying or art galleries, the opposite of my life too. No family, while I had 2 great aunts, plus all their children and grandchildren.
He struggles with French, while it was totally familiar to me. No clear place to live, while I had a family studio apartment. How did he get there? In contrast I had been driven over by my father and mother. We went even went shopping and I was bought a bed and a desk/table from Ikea.
I had a balcony with lanes of highway to look at, plus the reassuring noises of starting and stopping since the traffic lights were right there. My grandmother came to visit from London and had made me some curtains! I had a hallway with hooks I had bought and hung with nails and my own hammer. That was wonderful.
He had a passion and a vision, while I had none. He had the freedom to not be good. His life was open ended, mine would finish in July.
Apart from all that our Paris was identical. The same pavements, baguettes, metro, streets, places, smell, weather.
There is no sense of direction in the book, one story follows another. I just accept it all as it comes along. Much like this blog.. So I can't complain about the lack of a plot! I can't think of anything perceptive to write. I read these books in the expectation that the general attitudes and assumptions will seep into me over time. So I am gaining familiarity, but without needing any formal analysis.
Let's add this contemporary link to an interview he gave recently.