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Flneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London
Flneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London | Lauren Elkin
FINALIST FOR THE PEN/DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL AWARD FOR THE ART OF THE ESSAYA New York Times Notable Book of 2017The flneur is the quintessentially masculine figure of privilege and leisure who strides the capitals of the world with abandon. But it is the flneuse who captures the imagination of the cultural critic Lauren Elkin. In her wonderfully gender-bending new book, the flneuse is a "determined, resourceful individual keenly attuned to the creative potential of the city and the liberating possibilities of a good walk." Virginia Woolf called it "street haunting"; Holly Golightly epitomized it in Breakfast at Tiffany's; and Patti Smith did it in her own inimitable style in 1970s New York.Part cultural meander, part memoir, Flneuse takes us on a distinctly cosmopolitan jaunt that begins in New York, where Elkin grew up, and transports us to Paris via Venice, Tokyo, and London, all cities in which she's lived. We are shown the paths beaten by such flneuses as the cross-dressing nineteenth-century novelist George Sand, the Parisian artist Sophie Calle, the wartime correspondent Martha Gellhorn, and the writer Jean Rhys. With tenacity and insight, Elkin creates a mosaic of what urban settings have meant to women, charting through literature, art, history, and film the sometimes exhilarating, sometimes fraught relationship that women have with the metropolis.Called "deliciously spiky and seditious" by The Guardian, Flneuse will inspire you to light out for the great cities yourself.
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Expandingbookshelf
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“I walk because, somehow, it‘s like reading. You‘re privy to these lives and conversations that have nothing to do with yours, but you can eavesdrop on them. Sometimes it‘s overcrowded; sometimes the voices are too loud. But there is always companionship. You are not alone. You walk in the city side by side with the living and the dead.”

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Ailsa
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"Most of the meaningful moments of my life have taken place here, since I moved here for good, on the cusp of adulthood. Bliss has unravelled, joy coalesced out of nothing; my life has pulsed in its streets alongside so many others. Key spots on my emotional map of the city glow hot for a time, and then the heat and light subside."

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JSW
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Pickpick

I love to wander, and this book is like a meandering exploration of a city street. Not in a disorganized way, but in the way Elkin overlaps ideas and concepts. YMMV for sure, and if you like your genres well defined, this probably won‘t be your jam. I love when memoirs and history and social issues and travel and opinions all come together in a giant mish mash. Sort of like a city street. Enjoy the ramble.

30 likes1 stack add
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JSW
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Waiting for the bank to open. I‘m frequently early for things (it‘s either that or late; rarely am I exactly on time), which is why I always have a book with me. 😂 This book has been floating in my purse for weeks and I‘m determined to finish it this weekend!

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mhillis
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🚶‍♀️ Current read: Flaneuse: Women walk the city in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London

🔥 Best Book of March: Dreamland Burning. Firestarter.

📚 Most anticipated books of April: Continuing to read from the Women‘s Prize Longlist and reading The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali

#weekendreads

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JSW
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I will never again live anywhere without sidewalks. I did it once and I never went for walks and part of me died. The end.

27 likes1 stack add
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JSW
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I feel like I‘m going to quote this whole book 😂😂

cathysaid ❤️ this! Stacked! 9mo
JSW @cathysaid I feel like I want to highlight this whole book 9mo
28 likes1 stack add2 comments
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JSW
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Walking, paradoxically, allows for the possibility of stillness. Yes! This is why I walk.

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Mitch
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Not a bad month...#LitsyWalkers.

Tagged book is a great one if you love city walking.👍🏼

DarcysMom I am super impressed with your km/month! You are really moving! 9mo
Itchyfeetreader Wow this is impressive 9mo
70 likes2 comments
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JSW
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Excited to read this book that looks made for me. One of my favorite things is walking a city, any city.

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Lidia
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Flâneuse: I didn‘t even knew what the word meant before I picked up this book at the Strand some months ago. Women walking in the city, strolling, wandering by themselves. We take it for granted now but this concept used to be reserved for men only, the flâneur. I love this concept and I‘m loving this book ❤️

Booksnchill Listened to this on audio- while walking! Loved it! 10mo
Lidia Great way to listen to this book! @Booksnchill 10mo
Booksnchill @Lidia yes, now if it were only while walking in Paris...🤣💖 10mo
30 likes1 stack add3 comments
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msubhasi76
Mehso-so

Mirror of my 2017 trip to JP

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HardcoverHearts
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Being able to walk alone and walk in new cities has become an important issue for me. I was recently in Paris & Barcelona alone. I found solace in getting lost & finding my own way in beautiful cities. There is something profound when women walk alone in any environment. It shouldn‘t need to be a political act, yet is due to the overwhelming sense of potential danger. I am enjoying this book, which explored deeply women who wander in cities. 👌🏻

28 likes5 stack adds
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Actually_Perry
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Pickpick

Super interesting examination of women walking in cities and all the social and political factors surrounding them. Definitely makes you want to take to the streets!

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TheAnitaAlvarez
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Pickpick

First time I heard the concept of “flâneur” was in an Art History course in college. I liked the romantic idea of walking the city and actually seeing it (I am from a small town, moved to a city for college). But it seemed like only men could do it. Elkin explores women and cities and how they made them their own. Mixing essays about famous women and her own experience as a flâneuse, she does a thoughtful analysis about women place in the world.

mabell Great photo! 1y
JamieArc I knew about flaneurs because I studied French, but had a similar experience studying the concept more in depth in an Art History course. I recently saw this book and noted it so I‘m glad to see you post about it! 1y
VioletBramble Have you read this book about a flaneuse.? 1y
99 likes5 stack adds3 comments
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REPollock
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Mehso-so

My appreciation for this waned the further into it I read. Perhaps the concept was better as individual essays, without reaching for enough content to be a book.

I don‘t know. I‘m keeping it for all the excited marginalia I scribbled in the Paris chapters, and I‘m continuing to think about how it could have been a more successful full-length book overall.

More in comments.

REPollock Portions of the chapter on Tokyo struck me as unconsciously racist—I‘m thinking of the “weird food/smelly food” bits—and that chapter was more about the author‘s shitty relationship keeping her in Tokyo/wishing she was back in Paris than an interrogation of why no one, not just women, strolls around Tokyo. Perhaps a better choice of a legendarily unwalkable city for a woman to go strolling around would have been LA, which I‘ve walked through lots. 1y
REPollock Most other chapters also have some element of history, literature, or film discussion, though at times that‘s more about surface descriptions, especially the film/literature where you read protracted plot explanations and little analyses. 1y
REPollock I didn‘t hate it, but I found it fell short of its potential. 1y
12 likes3 comments
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REPollock
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Not wrong. ❤️❤️❤️

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REPollock
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Airport book! Long flight ahead.

13 likes2 stack adds
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REPollock
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Splurged on books at the 4-storey Barnes & Noble in Union Square while waiting to meet my agent for lunch! Really looking forward to all three.

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AlexGeorge
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Pickpick

All that I‘d hoped it would be. Especially good on the emotional perils of living away from “home”. As an Englishman living in Missouri, I could relate! Highly recommended.

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ShannonOffDuty
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Pickpick

This book is not for everyone but it was definitely for me. It was warm and fun but also hits on a very real subjugation of women. How simply existing publicly is an adventure and also a nightmare. If men could walk a mile in our shoes they'd know it's an obstacle course. We make the most of it though.

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ShannonOffDuty
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Resist

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AlexGeorge
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This is brilliant. I‘ve lived in Paris and London, and it‘s making me yearn for those cities. And it‘s so damn smart. “A culture that does not walk is bad for women... think of all the rebellious suburban women killed off in literature, from Madame Bovary to Revolutionary Road. Dream big, end up dead. Thelma and Louise could never come home to the suburbs.”

16 likes2 stack adds
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vlwelser
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Mehso-so

I'm on the fence with this one. It was okay.

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katyadams
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Pickpick

This book is incredible, I urge everyone to read it. Non-fiction but reads like fiction in many places, and has a academic feel but that's also incredibly easy to read. Gives you that warm and satisfied feeling that reading about places and travelling gives you. HIGHLY recommend 🗺

Megabooks Great review! Welcome to Litsy! 👍🏻📚🎉 2y
DebinHawaii Welcome to Litsy! 🎉📚👍Hope you enjoy it here! 2y
katyadams @Booksandcooks Thankyou! 💞 2y
RaimeyGallant What a title. And welcome to Litsy! #LitsyWelcomeWagon Some of us put together Litsy tips to help new Littens navigate the site. It's the link in my bio on my page in case you need it. Or if you prefer how-to videos, @chelleo put some together at the link in her bio. 2y
Chelleo Welcome🤗 2y
8 likes1 stack add5 comments
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Booksnchill
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1. Walking or commuting to and from work- occasionally cooking
2. Audible, Hoopla and Libby and sometimes CDs from library
3. 1.25 at least- I think I read faster than narrators speak and I get bored if I don‘t increase the pace
4. Simon Vance, Stephen Fry, Jim Dale- cannot abide Kate Reading as her narration diction is too precise
5. The complete sherlock holmes read by Stephen Fry

@Chelleo

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Booksnchill
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Latest commute book from Libby App, this one is on the shortlist for the PEN awards. #Femmeuary

68 likes2 stack adds
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merelybookish
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Booksnchill This was just put on the Pen Award finalist list- looks good! 2y
CrowCAH Sounds interesting. 2y
LeahBergen This one has piqued my interest. 👍🏻 2y
72 likes5 stack adds3 comments
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k.reads
Bailedbailed

So disappointed in this one. It reads like she had a bunch of personal essays and half of a graduate thesis lying around and her editor was like, “Well some of the writers you analyzed walked places sometimes... and you have legs, so therefore it‘s a book about walking.” In reality it‘s mostly the author whining about her sad rich girl life. Bummed because I was actually interested in the topic ☹️.

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Emiller
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After a tough day (missing my brother so so much and dreading Christmas without him), I did what my sweet #penpal @jenniferw88 told me to do... And WOW!!! I absolutely LOVE everything!!! Such perfect gifts!! Thank you so so so so much!!!!! 💜💜💜

Avanders 💖💖 2y
TricksyTails Aww that's the best!! 🐘♥️ 2y
callielafleur ❤️❤️❤️ 2y
See All 6 Comments
PenguinInFlight ❤️❤️❤️ 2y
LeahBergen Aww! 💕💕 2y
jenniferw88 Glad you love everything! Yours arrived today- will post photos soon! I've been without a phone for the last few days so am catching up on Litsy! 2y
59 likes6 comments
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PagesOfKate
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Two #powerful books from two amazing women writers #ReindeerReads

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charl08
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Pickpick

From my own "Flaneuse"ing.

Fascinating look at art, walking and the city.

UrsulaMonarch 👏👏👏🚶‍♀️ 2y
charl08 @Lkelly 👣👣👣👍 2y
33 likes2 comments
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charl08
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Who *does* want to live in a tent?

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Augustdana
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It sounds like a wonderful concept! I‘ve been lucky enough to walk three of these cities streets and can‘t wait to read about the other two. It‘s a little beat up, but it was four bucks. Come on.

9 likes1 stack add
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TheAnitaAlvarez
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Pickpick

Read this book while flâneusing on Paris and it was the best decision ever. I felt connected to all the women in the book and their decision to walk over the cities.

P.S.: photo taken Café des 2 Moulins, where Amelie works in the movie ?

8 likes1 stack add
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charl08
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What if Shakespeare had a sister?

35 likes1 stack add
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charl08
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I wish I was. Instead, waiting for a lift!

33 likes1 stack add
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UrsulaMonarch
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Mehso-so

I loved the concept of this book and was bummed that I didn't like the actual book as much! The photo here was at the end of the book.

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UrsulaMonarch
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Learning about Japanese #onnade #holdbackthemaleflood #SFPL

UrsulaMonarch @well.read.panda you might enjoy the Japanese chapter of this book about the author wandering Tokyo and working on learning the language 2y
UrsulaMonarch (Although she does not really enjoy it!) 2y
6 likes2 comments
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UrsulaMonarch
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4 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Jas16
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Here is the random #augusttbr I threw together before leaving for work this morning. Not pictured is my #augustmostanticipated- the new Penny Reid. I will tag it in the comments. #anditisaugust #booksacrossoceans

59 likes1 comment
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RowReads1
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Jas16
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I had lunch with a friend today and she surprised me with a copy of this book. She said she saw it int the store and couldn't stop thinking about it until she went back to purchase it for me. I am so touched and looking forward to digging into it.

53 likes1 stack add
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merelybookish
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This book explores the history of women walking in cities such as Paris, Venice, and New York. The chapter on London opens with this excellent quotation from Virginia Woolf.
#londoncalling #rockinmay @Cinfhen

Cinfhen What a cool idea for a book! 3y
61 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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RachelO
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A love song to the city and a long article on the *derive*, psychogeography and urban walking ( https://aeon.co/essays/psychogeography-where-writers-should-now-fear-to-tread )led me to these three for #underthebridge this morning. The first 2 have been on the tbr since they came out, I think.

#lyricalapril

Cinfhen All 3 are new to me titles- thanks for posting 💕 3y
37 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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RebeccaH
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I've been excited about this book for a long time. Time to dive in!

mcipher I just read a synopsis of this in the New Yorker. Maybe it's a sign?! 3y
vivastory This sounds fantastic, look forward to reading your thoughts 3y
RebeccaH @mcipher Yes! It's a sign, for sure! 3y
RebeccaH @vivastory Yes, and so far so good. I'm liking it a lot. 3y
36 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Dramagirl
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Finished on #IWD2017 - seemed appropriate. Terrific read on women walking the city and being.

4 likes1 stack add
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merelybookish
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"I walk because somehow, it's like reading. You are there, but not really there; you're privy to these lives and conversations that have nothing to do with yours ... You can imagine what their lives are beyond the slice of it you observe."
Been wanting to read this book. First chapter is currently available at https://longreads.com/tag/flaneuse/

44 likes1 stack add
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Kkhalifeh
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If I have to be at work today at least I can read about walking around "the city".

queerbookreader I love those shoes 😍😍😍 3y
19 likes2 comments
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SaraElis
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Couldn't wait for the US release of this book and ordered from the UK!