tisdag, oktober 23, 2007

Paris - a corner of Paradise?

I recently finished reading a book by the Swedish journalist Knut Ståhlberg.

He was a well known reporter both in radio and television from the late forties till mid- eighties. He is still among us but born in 1920, he has since long retired from his journalistic career.

He became so intimately connected with France and Paris that he almost became an institution. 
Before him there had been renowned Swedish reporters stationed in France and Paris but for the majority of Swedes today he is the correspondent par préférence when it came to covering the political-societal and cultural situation in France. He was given the surname, The Voice from Paris.

He had a very personal style and in a way he epitomized the general idea of a Frenchman. He talked with every part of his body almost, not least his hands. He leaned towards the TV-screen and almost came out of the TV-set.

The book I've read by him is called A Corner of Paradise. Light and Dark Years in Paris (my translation).
He arrived in Paris in 1945 and came to live on Rue du docteur Blanche in the 16th arrondissement where he met his wife to be, Juliette
They lived very happy but after a while the cold war broke out and this made Ståhlberg have to take on a great amount of responsibility concerning news coverage.

Through his wife, he also learns about her family history from the trenches in the Flanders to the concentration camps of the Third Reich. A travel in time far from the Swedish self-righteous isolation.

In the book we can also read about André Gide, Claude Simon, Jean-Paul Sartre, politicians, musicians, painters (not least Swedish painters) and others who he met during his years in France.

It's a fascinating book and a evidence of the post-war history of Europe and also a story about love, the love to his wife, to France, to people who made an impression on him.

He has written several books and one of them is about Charles de Gaulle and called: 'De Gaulle, the General who was France' (my translation).

In 2006 he was honoured with Légion d'honneur' (Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur) - Legion of Honor.

I don't know if it has been translated into English but if so I would like to recommend it.

(Photo of Knut Ståhlberg copied from: https://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/a/wE9WRM/knut-stahlberg-ar-dod)
(Photo of his book copied from: https://books.google.fr/books/about/Ett_h%C3%B6rn_av_paradiset.html?id=hPr_ZwEACAAJ&redir_esc=y)

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