First book of 2016. It always bewilders me when people judge a book according to the moral judgment that they pass on its characters. On top of this, how can I ditch a book for which Anaïs Nin wrote a preface? I just love how Miller manages to offend half the world in the first 3 pages.
It’s down and out in Paris written in stream-of-conscious prose, capturing the details of a particular moment in history in as intense a way as possible. It was set in post-Great War Paris where most young people had turned permanently cynical and nihilistic, horrified as they rightly were over what exact carnage humans had proven themselves capable of. They wanted to put behind the violence and formed an artistic community, but they are plagued by poverty and hunger, as Miller himself noted. All he could think was food as he strolled around the city full of Bohemians and drunks with his stomach rattling. The book is a myopic view of living in the present.