Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London

Lauren Elkin, read by Abby Craden. Tantor Audio, unabridged, 8 CDs, 9 hrs., $42.99 ISBN 978-1-54140538-7
Actor Craden contributes a sprightly reading to the enjoyable audio edition of Elkin’s book, which blends memoir with history and cultural criticism. The narrative recounts Elkin’s research and travels following in the footsteps of several female creative geniuses who explored major cities of the world, gaining freedom and confidence through their peregrinations. Much of the book is Elkin’s memoirs of her own experiences wandering and living in five cities, and Craden successfully stands in for the author; she gamely captures the book’s overall tone, which is both sophisticated and youthful. She also uses a convincing French accent, which is valuable for the sections on artist Sophie Calle (b. 1953) and writer George Sand (1804–1876). Less successful is the stilted, not-quite-British voice she uses when quoting Virginia Woolf (1882–1941). It sounds awkward and self-conscious, which is ironic because the book is about women shedding convention and gaining independence and confidence. This misstep aside, the audiobook makes for an enjoyable nine hours of listening time, perfectly suited for traveling listeners who are embarking on a journey of their own. A Farrar, Straus and Giroux paperback. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2018
Release date: 10/01/2017
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-09-959337-9
Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-0-7011-8902-0
Ebook - 978-0-374-71589-2
MP3 CD - 978-1-5414-5538-2
Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-0-374-15604-6
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-374-53743-2
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