Chased by Books

Before dinner, The Frenchman and I saw LE PARFUM. I was totally enthralled by it. The director’s use of color to simulate smell was unbelievably effective, and the actor who played Grenouille was profoundly creepy. I found myself leaning forward in my seat several times, mouth open. I was overwhelmed with a powerful envy of red hair in this film — wow! Some people have complained about the last 15 minutes of the movie being “too much.” Apparently, they missed entirely that this was magical realism, not SILENCE OF THE PARISIAN LAMBS. The genre of magical realism has its own rules, much like a fairytale. And that’s precisely what it was.

Afterwards, I ate a crepe with Grand Marnier — the best crepe I’ve had in Paris so far — and, after much walking, we then went to dinner with René de Obaldia and his beautiful American wife, Diane. You would never guess in a million lifetimes that Monsieur Obaldia was 91 years old. He spoke and moved like a man 20 years younger — at least. When we entered their apartment, he joked, “I’m being chased out of my apartment by books!” It was true. He had stacks of books everywhere imaginable. We had an appero of champagne and chips, then walked to our restaurant.

The extravagant restaurant “Mollard” was cleverly disguised by a glass door with black letters that were half rubbed off by the weather and age. Inside the jade walls were edged with gold filigree and covered with art deco murals depicting men and women of the late 19th century. Very proper French waiters in stiff black suits and white gloves escorted us to our table. The entire meal, from the conversation to the food, was completely charming. I ate so much I had a food hangover. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Diane, as well as gleaning what I could from the brilliant Obaldia. It wasn’t much, but he asked a lot of questions about my writing. I felt totally unworthy. He remarked at dinner that I was “A charming woman who wrote about horrific things.” I replied, “Well, sometimes it’s the other way around!” I hope I made a positive impression, regardless. As we were leaving, a drunk gentleman became very excited about Trog and shouted, “Magnifique!” What can I say? They all love the Wild Thing.

I’m writing a bit this morning, and then we’re off to finally see AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH before commencing another round of holiday debauchery with friends. Alors!

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