Two weeks in Paris

2010-06-23 00:00

BOOK REVIEW

A Letter from Paris

Eric Miyeni

Pan Macmillan

ERIC Miyeni needs no introduction and in his latest book — which happens to be his fourth for those of you who are interested — he shows no signs of slowing down.

If you have a moment to spare, then take some time out and plop yourself down onto a comfy recliner and delve into this riveting read which paints an insightful look into the author’s two-week journey through Paris.

Depicted through a number of ­essays accompanied by black and white images, Miyeni allows the reader to accompany him through his journey to the romantic capital of the world and it turns out to be a somewhat discerning, yet quirky, experience. Miyeni demonstrates his resourcefulness in his use of ­language and while it takes great skill to find humour in the seemingly humourless, he manages to carry it off with great aplomb.

While the book is based on ­Miyeni’s Paris experience, one doesn’t even need to leave South ­Africa to be able to relate to some of his experiences. Take race ­relations, for instance. When Miyeni ­arrives in Paris, the black taxi driver who takes him to his first destination knowingly drops him off more than six blocks from where he is ­supposed to — forcing him to lug his luggage in the rain.

Interestingly enough, the rest of his days in Paris are filled with balmy sunshine. Take that as you will.

Such instances — those pertaining to race relations, that is — are commented on by the author on quite a few occasions. Miyeni feels that black people are more enthusiastic when serving white people but when the time comes to serve their own, the situation is quite different, even hostile.

He lets it be known that the black race can only liberate itself by treating its own with pride.

He even compares such experiences to the apartheid days when black domestic workers did not take a liking to him visiting his white friends, even though they were under the employ of those he was visiting.

That being said, it’s a fabulous read that will have you chuckling as you go along.

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