Writer-chef-explorer extraordinaire Elatia Harris — no relation to my wife Alison Harris — interviewed me for a great website I did not formerly know, the 3 Quarks Daily.
It’s always jarring to be on the other side of the mike — or keyboard. I’ve conducted hundreds of interviews over the last 20-odd years. I’ve given a few, too. Of them, this is outstandingly good (not because I’m such a fascinating person, but because Elatia is such a good interviewer and writer).
Here’s the opening paragraph:
In 1986, San Francisco-born David Downie, a scholar and multilingual translator, moved to Paris, into a real garret — a maid’s room, in fact — to write himself into another way of life. Fresh from Milan, his marriage to a Milanese finished, he was still young enough for years more of getting it right. A quarter century later, his authority on matters Parisian is acknowledged by Jan Morris, Diane Johnson, and Mavis Gallant, to name only a few illustrious admirers.
Happily the interview is also about Alison and includes many fine photos from Rome, Paris and elsewhere.
Photos such as this one:
Much to my surprise and delight, The New Yorker picked up the interview. The power of new media is startling.
Speaking of which, Paris, Paris is a surprise bestseller. It was released on April 5 and in under four months has gone through four print runs… This is astonishing, given the publicity budget (budget? what budget?) and the not-dumbed-down nature of the book.
Thanks to all of you for buying so many copies, and telling your friends! Merci mille fois…