Why L.A.? Pourquoi Paris? An Artistic Pairing of Two Iconic Cities

Diane Ratican, illus. by Eric Giriat and Nick Lu. Benna Books (www.bennabooks.com), $24.95 trade paper (204p) ISBN 978-0-9911315-0-1
As an entrepreneur dealing in children’s clothing, Ratican splits her time between Paris and Los Angeles. In this travel guide and visual ode to the two cosmopolitan cities, Ratican compares and contrasts her two homes, declaring “Los Angeles is my husband, and Paris is my lover.” Ratican breaks down styles of architecture, from L.A.’s art-deco City Hall and Spanish influences to the “Gothic grandeur” of Paris’s Notre Dame cathedral and baroque Palais du Luxembourg. She celebrates the cities’ shared qualities as iconic birthplaces of cinema and excellence in cuisine in passages on L.A.’s famed food trucks and farmers’ markets and Paris’s bistros, patisseries, and fromageries. As for the differences between the tons, Ratican calls L.A., the “world’s denim capital” with an “undeniable aesthetic of youth,” which is quite unlike the Parisian tradition of Haute Couture. Illustrators Giriat and Lu not only capture the author’s joyous esteem for her subjects but steal the show with their whimsical pop-art illustrations depicting famed locales and various ephemera, including portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot, Jim Morrison’s grave, and a French cheese spread. While the artwork is charming, Ratican’s account is generic, readers with even a passing knowledge of Paris and L.A. will not find a lot of new information. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/08/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
Open Ebook - 248 pages - 978-0-9911315-1-8
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