Haussmann, or the Distinction (Paperback)

By Paul La Farge

St. Martins Press-3pl, 9780312420925, 400pp.

Publication Date: October 1, 2002



Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann, who transformed Paris from a filthy and haphazard medieval city into the jewel of Europe, is rumored on his deathbed to have wished all his work undone. Why? The answer lies in the story of Madeleine, a foundling from the magical old world Haussmann destroyed; of de Fonce, a '"demolition man" who sold the rubble of Paris as antiques; and of a three-sided affair that reveals the moral bankruptcy of the city, a corruption hidden by the transformative work of its brilliant architect.

About the Author

Paul La Farge is the author of the novels The Artist of the Missing (FSG, 1999), Haussmann, or the Distinction (FSG, 2001), and Luminous Airplanes (FSG, 2011); and a book of imaginary dreams, The Facts of Winter. His short stories have appeared in McSweeney's, Harper's Magazine, Fence, Conjunctions, and elsewhere. His nonfiction appears in The Believer, Bookforum, Playboy, and Cabinet. He lives in upstate New York.

Praise For Haussmann, or the Distinction

"Imaginative. . .compelling storytelling. . .we can’t help reading on." --The New York Times Book Review

“LaFarge is a confident, tireless trickster and yarn spinner...a magician on the scale of Prospero." --San Francisco Chronicle

“LaFarge is a master storyteller with cleverness and inventiveness to spare....[An] ambitious and playful novel...full of artful prose, wit, and provocative ideas." --The Philadelphia Inquirer

"With his dazzling gift for bringing irretrievable cities to life, LaFarge conjures sinuous, melancholic otherworlds that feel wholly tangible." --The Village Voice

"Haussman designed cities; LaFarge designs worlds—splendid, elegant edifices built on the rubble of our dreams and history." --Colson Whitehead, author of John Henry Days