Parisian Lives by Deirdre Bair

Parisian Lives

National Book Award-winning biographer Deirdre Bair explores her fifteen remarkable years in Paris with Samuel Beckett and Simone de Beauvoir, painting intimate new portraits of two literary giants and revealing secrets of the biographical art.In 1971 Deirdre Bair was a journalist and recently minted Ph.D. who managed to secure access to Nobel Prize-winning author Samuel Beckett. He agreed that she could write his biography despite never having w...

Details Parisian Lives

TitleParisian Lives
Release DateNov 12th, 2019
PublisherNan A. Talese
GenreNonfiction, Biography, Autobiography, Memoir, Cultural, France, History, Biography Memoir, Literature

Reviews Parisian Lives

  • Niklas Pivic
    Earlier this year, Michael Peppiatt’s The Existential Englishman: Paris Among the Artists was published; the book displays namedropping and some Parisian familières, and ended up as quite the end note of what can be written about celebrities, and Paris. It is the kind of book that most people will forget about when asked of their favourite autobiographies, six months after having read it.Enter Deirdre Bair.I did not know of her before reading ...
  • Rose
    "Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir, and Me: A Memoir" is a beautifully written book that pulls you in slowly but deeply. It isn't just about writing about two famous authors but the memoir writer's life as well and what it takes to be a biographer. I would recommend this book to fans of Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir, as well as biographies in general.I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a c...
  • Paul Myers
    Deirdre Bair's memoir is the interrelated stories of writing biographies of Samuel Beckett and Simone de Beauvoir and Bair's own journey of discovery while launching her academic career, a process often in conflict with her success writing biographies that became blockbuster successes. It is a fascinating tale of how to research and write biography while observing that the process of researching and writing about great writers itself brings stunn...
  • Lindsey
    "Obviously I would need to start a different set of folders, and I went right out to buy them. The only color I had not yet used was purple, so green gave way to purple and that's what the final version became." You guys, this is the start of a chapter, and a perfect illustration at how dull this memoir is. It's about her process writing two famous biographies. Don't get me wrong, it has it moments, but overall I cannot recommend. I don't underst...
  • Marvin Fender
    I received this book from the Goodreads Giveaway program. The stories told in this biography/memoir/creative process compilation is very unusual and entertaining. I really like good biographies and memoirs that are told well and have enlightening information and this book delivers. Ms Bair has a very wonderful way of keeping a vast amount of history and personal information flowing and compelling you to read further. You also find empathy for her...
  • Marietje
    How does an author go about writing a biography of a well known subject, while refraining from judgement, creating controversy, maintaining a good working relationship with the subject and the people around them? In this "bio-memoir Deirdre Bair relates her experiences, struggles and reactions while first compiling the biography of Samuel Beckett and Simone de Beauvoir.It was a revelation for me to see how much time, money, effort and negotiating...
  • Amy
    This was a Goodreads giveaway that, quite frankly, I entered because of Parisian and Simone de Beauvoir being in the title. After finishing it, I'm embarrassed I knew so little beforehand about Samuel Beckett, nor claimed his name as being the biggest reason for my entering. Still, truth be told, the second half of the book which focused almost solely on De Beauvoir held me captivated until the very last page in a way the Beckett section did not....
  • Paul Wilner
    Engaging account of the author's successful bearding of two literary giants, with autobiographical diversions into the pettiness and sexism of literary and academic politics. I came away with the feeling that she may have respected Beckett more as an artist but connected with de Beauvoir, for all her difficulties, more as a person. That said, it was a bit disappointing not to see more material on each of their actual work, which is mentioned in p...
  • Joan
    I love to read a book about something I never considered before. Here the topic is how to go about writing a biography of a living person. What's amazing here is that the author figured it out as she did it, and after the fact shares her process and thoughts with us. She started as a young, married mother of two writing her dissertation on Samuel Beckett and continued on to write Beckett’s first biography. Shortly thereafter, she spent a decade...
  • Jeimy
    I was not expecting to enjoy this as much as I have, but it was interesting to learn how Bair's unconventional approach to biography writing, brought her fame (and infamy) after years of painstaking research into Beckett's life and how that acclaim led her to write a biography about de Beauvoir as well.
  • Jen
    DNF. Read 100 pages, skimmed rest.
  • Doris Raines