cover image Henry Miller: The Paris Years

Henry Miller: The Paris Years

Brassai. Arcade Publishing, $23.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-1-55970-287-4

Originally published in France in 1975, famed photographer Brassai's exuberant account of Henry Miller's years in Paris (1930-1939) and of his friendship with the expatriate American writer comprises a delightful, sparkling memoir that seems to define the essence of Miller, both the man and the mystique. Bohemian, interwar Paris had a liberating effect on the Francophile, penurious exile from New York, who wrote Tropic of Cancer, Black Spring and Tropic of Capricorn during those heady years. Brassai paints Miler as a manic-depressive with a fierce appetite for life, driven by feelings of being a pathetic failure, a great storyteller whose egocentric philosophy blinded him to social and political realities. Brassai provides an intermittently illuminating analysis of the triangle involving Miller, Anais Nin and Miller's estranged wife, June, who burst onto the Paris scene in 1932. There are piquant observations of Miller's friendships with novelists Lawrence Durrell, Blaise Cendrars, Raymond Queneau and Alfred Perles, as he moved from nihilism to a mystical phase. Sixteen of Brassai's photographs of Paris and of Miller perfectly complement the text. (Oct.)