From Paris’ famous opera house to its gossip-rich salons, Renate Stendhal’s memoir celebrates youth at the end of the 1970s, when women were in fashion and every woman, gay or straight, fell in love with women.
Recently escaped from her German family and student husband, Stendhal ekes out a living as a cultural journalist in Europe’s most cultured city. She walks Paris at night dressed as a boy, has friends and lovers among artists (Meret Oppenheim) and writers (Christiane Rochefort, Monique Wittig), and falls under the spell of the mercurial actress Claude, who has all of Paris talking. At the same time, she finds herself in the crosshairs of an alluring stranger who seems to appear everywhere and nowhere at once. There are mysteries with and without clues: Is sexual obsession a way to avoid the risk of love?
An excerpt from Kiss Me Again, Paris won a pre-publication award from the National Woman’s Book Association, in 2015.
Advance Praise for Kiss Me Again, Paris
“Renate Stendhal’s daring new book throbs with the pulse of Paris in the 1970s. Written with verve, this book captures the sense of erotic excitement that Paris continues to inspire.” —Marilyn Yalom, author of How the French Invented Love and The Social Sex
“Meret Oppenheim, friend and mentor to Ms. Stendhal, would certainly admire this book, and pass it on to others so others could make their own art from it. It’s the ‘Fur Teacup’ of memoir.” —Thomas Fuller, author of Monsieur Ambivalence: A Post-Literate Fable
“Renate Stendhal feels Paris in every fiber of her being. She is able to carry the reader with her into all these delicious places, some well known and some known to few. Relax and let her take you. It is a memorable journey.” —Hugh van Dusen, HarperCollins executive editor (for 60 years)
“Most memories fade to smoldering embers. Renate Stendhal’s recollections have remained a bonfire. The tapestry of her remembrances had their genesis in her rejection of a former life and the embrace of a new authentic one. Details of her years living in Paris during the ’70s are carved into her psyche. She takes us with her to the cafes where the fragrance of a passing woman would turn heads. We hear the murmur of the Seine. We see the dark shadows under a bridge and the glow of a cigarette as a rouged mouth draws on it. There’s an old adage that says memories worth remembering are remembered. Whoever coined this must have had Renate Stendhal in mind.” —Anna Hamilton Phelan, screenwriter of Mask, Gorillas in the Mist, and Girl, Interrupted