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 became very popular with his very personal style.
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.

He became so intimately connected with France and Paris that he almost became an institution. Before him there had been famous reporters stationed in France and Paris but for the majority of Swedes today he is the correspondent par préférence concering the French society.

The book I've read by him is called 'A Corner of Paradise. Light and Dark Years in Paris' (my translation).
He came to 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 were 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.

He also learns about his wifes 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.

He also writes about some of the people he met: André Gide, Claude Simon, Jean-Paul Sartre, politicians, musicians, painters (not least Swedish painters) and others.

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.

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