Flaneuse: Women Walk The City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London by Lauren Elkin

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Summary from Goodreads:

In this gloriously provocative and celebratory book, Lauren Elkin defines [a flaneuse] as ‘a determined resourceful woman keenly attuned to the creative potential of the city, and the liberating possibilities of a good walk’. Part cultural meander, part memoir, Flâneuse traces the relationship between the city and creativity through a journey that begins in New York and moves us to Paris, via Venice, Tokyo and London, exploring along the way the paths taken by the flâneuses who have lived and walked in those cities.

Foreign cities, literature, feminism, and perambulation – what more could I ask for? This book was basically tailor made for me. I found myself exclaiming “exactly!” On more than one occasion while reading this one – especially when she comments on female walking as a subversive act. Men don’t know what its like to be an object the second you step outside of your front door.

I also share Elkin’s background as a literature major so her use of literary biography and criticism to explore the cityscape really struck a note with me. I don’t quite share her love of Paris but I do know what it is like to wander around a foreign city and fall in love with it (London, Dublin, Melbourne, Berlin, etc.).

As you can probably tell, I share a lot of Elkin’s experiences and perspectives so I found this an incredibly enjoyable and rewarding read. It may appeal less to those who prefer to drive…

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