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Mark Braude’s new biography, “Kiki Man Ray,” visits a place of perennial interest — Left Bank Paris in the 1920s — through the life of the singer, model, memoirist and muse. On this week’s podcast, Braude says that his subject thoroughly captured the spirit of her age, “a mix of deep pain and a very deep love of life” that emerged after the First World War.
We’re used to reading about this age, Braude says, through the eyes of Americans in Paris, like Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Kiki “represents something that sometimes gets overlooked,” he says, which is “the French contribution to this scene and to this moment. People like Kiki were part of the reason why expats found France and Paris so exciting.” She was “living on a completely different rhythm and in a completely different way. She was just undeniably herself, and wasn’t putting on airs. And just loved life; she just wanted to do everything and meet everyone and go everywhere, and she did.”
Also on this week’s episode, Gregory Cowles and Elisabeth Egan talk about what they’ve been reading. John Williams is the host.
Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:
“River of Mountains” by Peter Lourie
“Colony” by Anne Rivers Siddons
“The Emperor’s Tomb” by Joseph Roth
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