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

Lauren Elkin. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-0-374-15604-6<
In her richly evocative and absorbing debut, cultural critic Elkin homes in on the female version of the flaneur, or "one who wanders aimlessly." In Elkin's telling, the flaneuse is strongly responsive to exploring the potential of a city on foot, believing that every alleyway, corner, and stairway can conjure a memory or yield a new discovery. As Elkin meanders through N.Y.C., Paris, London, Venice, and Tokyo, she also traces the journeys of the flaneuses who came before her: authors George Sand, who dressed as a man to stroll the streets of Paris in the 1830s so she could be "an atom lost in that immense crowd"; Jean Rhys, whose protagonists use walking as a form of self-avoidance; and Virginia Woolf, who felt liberated by her "street haunting" in London, as well as filmmaker Agnes Varda, whose work explored women's relationships to their environments both as the object of the gaze and as the ones doing the looking, and others. In this insightful mix of cultural history and memoir, Elkin emerges as the protagonist as she mines her personal journey from the suburbs of Long Island to her current home in Paris. Highly attuned to her surroundings wherever she walks, she shows readers how to be aware of "invisible boundaries of a city," so they can embrace each environment on their own accord. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 03/06/2017
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-374-53743-2
Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-0-7011-8902-0
Ebook - 978-0-374-71589-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-5414-0538-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-5414-5538-2
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-09-959337-9
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