Enter “Paris in the Present Tense”

Mark Helprin‘s fine and important novel, Paris in the Present Tense (2017), presents, among other things, an elderly man in Paris who unexpectedly kills two Arab anti-Semites engaged in badly beating a Jewish man. In the vision wrought here, “the facts of life,” as Margaret Thatcher said, “are conservative.” Which is why the elderly man admits that “When civilization turned a corner or two, I didn’t.” Too, he believes in God.

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