Finding F. Scott Fitzgerald at the Hotel Belles Rives

“With our being back in a nice villa on my beloved Riviera (between Cannes and Nice) I’m happier than I’ve been for years. It’s one of those strange, precious and all too transitory moments when everything in one’s live seems to be going well.” So reads the quotation engraved in marble in the lobby of the Hotel Belles Rives in the Riviera town of Juan-Les-Pins. Its author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, rented the hotel when it was still a private villa in the summer of 1925. His time in this part of France served as inspiration for both my favourite novel…

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A Paris Review

In a rather strange turn of events, my parents are moving to Paris. It is odd because ever since I’ve know them (so forever, then) they have always lived in exactly the same house. So there’s that, but also the fact that I always kind of thought in my head that if anyone from my immediate family moved to Paris it would be me. I’ve been thinking about a lot about Paris recently, mainly because I discovered to my horror that not everyone thinks it’s as totally charmant as I do. I was talking to one friend, and I think…

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Oxford: In search of my literary heroes

They say you should never meet your heroes… which is unlikely to happen if your heroes are mostly dead, as mine are. It hasn’t stopped me trying, though. By sheer coincidence, I pass each day on my way to work a run-down house adorned with a blue plaque signifying that Mary Wollstonecraft – probably the hero I admire most of all my dead heroes — once lived there. Obviously Southwark today is far different to Wollstonecraft’s Southwark, but it feels special to me that this woman’s history is entwined with my life, even if it’s in a small, insignificant kind…

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I look to you, New York

“For however inhospitable the wind, from this vantage point Manhattan was simply so improbable, so wonderful, so obviously full of promise – that you wanted to approach it for the rest of your life without ever quite arriving.” ― Amor Towles, The Rules of Civility I’ve been thinking over the past few weeks how strange it is that places we’ve never stepped foot in can become important and significant to us. There’s one city in the world that everyone has opinion on, has an understanding of, feels they know – because how could they not? New York is everywhere. I’ve…

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