‘An Apartment In Paris’ By Guillaume Musso: A New Adventure On Two Continents
Since a few days ago I finished “The Angel’s Call” (Guillaume Musso), I continued this literary genre, being curious to find out the continuation of Madelaine’s story. I invite you, therefore, to walk with me in “An apartment in Paris”.
About the author
According to the author’s profile on the Goodreads platform, Guillaume Musso is one of the most popular contemporary French writers. From his early childhood, Guillaume Musso knew he wanted to be a writer. He returned to Paris from New York (where, for several months, he sold ice cream to earn money), with his head filled with ideas for novels. It’s easy for the reader to notice the influence his time in the United States has had on him, as the action in his books takes place overseas. He currently teaches in a high school in the south of France, while working on his novels.
The author is translated into over 40 languages and his books have numerous film adaptations. Among them, I mention the novel “Afterwards” released in cinemas in January 2009, starring John Malkovich, Evangeline Lily and Romain Duris.
About the book
The novel “An Apartment in Paris” is, in a way, the continuation of the novel “The Angel’s Call”, but it can also be read independently, as the action is going into a total different direction.
(“The Angel’s Call” review here: https://ralucaneagu07.wixsite.com/lustforflying/post/the-angel-s-call-by-guillaume-musso-a-story-like-a-montagne-russe)
The two books have in common Madelaine character, a troubled young English woman who is looking for her inner balance and who finds answers to personal, existential questions in solving some investigations classified by the police.
This time, in the police-type approach, she is joined by the interesting misanthropic character, Gaspard Coutances, a French playwright who lives in the USA and who regularly returns to Paris to write a new play. Both “detectives” find themselves, in a way, in the dramas they investigate and nurture the common hope that, once the mystery is solved, they will find “a lost part of themselves”.
Just like the previous novel, this one will also take you from one continent to another and it will change the perspective from which the story is presented, prolonging the suspense until the end.
This time, the central element of the investigation is the tragic story of the painter Sean Lorenz, a watercolor genius who, before dying, leaves behind some ingenious hidden clues that will wreck the conclusion of the classified investigation into the death of his son.
I will let you discover by yourself the complex action, with all its upheavals and moments of maximum intensity, which you’ll certainly enjoy. I’m just telling you that I fell in love with the character of the playwright, Gaspard, a character whose vulnerabilities arouse empathy and make him as human as it is irresistible. Madelaine, while herself is pursued by her own anxieties, she perceives him to be ”unclassifiable, affectionate, full of contradictions” and the meeting of the two could be their salvation.
I found the numerous references to literary works (Appolinaire, whose verse – “The time has come to light the stars again” – is the leitmotif of the novel, Schopenhauer, Oscar Wilde, Goethe etc.), famous painters or paintings (Picasso, Klimt, Modigliani) and colossal musical arias (Symphony No. 5 by Beethoven, Symphony No. 2 by Gustav Mahler, “Catalog of Birds” by Olivier Messiaen, “Hungarian Rhapsody” by Schubert – one of my personal favorites, “The Concerto for flute and harp” by Mozart etc.) as being interesting and beautifully inserted into the context.
Along with the alert action, Guillaume Musso inserts ideas about the fatality and the condition of geniuses, the principle of destruction which helps cretion, the artists’ temperament and their inclinations towards eccentricity, the mood swings specific to the act of creation (euphoria in the creative period and the subsequent descent into their own hell of thoughts).
Also, the author criticizes modern society in terms of consumerism, hyper-technology at the cost of losing humanity, of the brutalization of people and of their aesthetic uniformity possible due to plastic surgery.
Art, love and beauty are the “salvation” of humanity, as they are, in author’s opinion, the quintessence of our humanity.
If you want a few alert hours, in a chase that turns out to be more than the chase for clues or unraveling, then sit comfortably in an armchair with a large cup of black coffee and let yourself be carried away in the adventure of Madelaine and Gaspard. The book is Lust For Flying.
To the author:
Monsieur Musso, nous nous reverrons quand j’aurai besoin d’adrénaline dans mon voyage littéraire!
(Mr. Musso, we’ll meet again when I’ll need adrenaline in my literary journey! – Google translation, French language)
Quotes (English translation from Romanian edition)
- “(…) an apocalyptic society enslaved to technology, consumerism, mediocre thinking. A predatory society that, methodically exterminating the nature, took a ticket without return to nowhere.”
- “Man is the worst of predators. Man is a parasite who, under the pretext of a superficial civilization, feels good only by dominating and humiliating others. A megalomaniacal and suicidal species that hates its fellows because it hates itself.”
- “Life is a roller coaster, a despot who rules his kingdom, making terror reign by its armed force: time. And, at the end, time always wins. Time is the greatest exterminator in history.”
- “(…) there is, no doubt, a fatality of geniuses.”
- “Artists have the privilege of continuing to live through their works.”
- “To get rid of the brutality of an era ruled by technology, stupidity and economic rationality, what other weapons do we have left besides art, beauty and love?”