Author discusses new novel at Sewickley bookstore
Author James Goldsborough uses personal experiences and fictional characters to tell a historically rooted story in his new novel, “The Paris Herald.”
Starting out as a young reporter at the first American newspaper in Paris, Goldsborough learned the culture, language and history, all of which provided material the book about Americans in Paris.
Goldsborough, who has ties to the Sewickley area, visited the Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley on July 17 for a discussion and signing of his new novel, based in Paris in the 1960s.
“The Paris Herald,” published by Prospecta Press, tells a story about the newspaper founded in 1887 that later became the International Herald-Tribune in 1920s until about two years ago, when it was renamed The International New York Times.
“The newspaper story is a good story about interesting people and a newspaper that, in a sense, is America's gift to France or to Paris like the Statue of Liberty is France's gift to America,” said Goldsborough, whose parents used to live in Edgeworth and who spent summers there with his grandmother.
“Every Frenchman, every European has known what The Paris Herald, the Herald-Tribune was.”
Goldsborough, who now lives in San Diego, spent 13 years writing for the newspaper, where he started in 1965 writing a column about all of the jazz clubs in Paris.
One of the main characters, Rupert Archer, comes to Paris as a young reporter and draws from some of Goldsborough's personal experiences abroad.
“I get into the personalities of the people who are at the Herald-Tribune, and the point of it is ‘Why are they there? Why do Americans come to a foreign country, or a foreign city?'”
Plenty of American artists, from writer James Joyce to dancer Josephine Baker, have a legacy in Paris, and Goldsborough deals with the exiles who came after World War II.
There were great American musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Bud Powell, Memphis Slim and Kenny Clark, who came to escape racism, he said.
“I try to capture all of the different motives that bring people to Paris and why they say it's different living in a foreign country,” Goldsborough said.
Goldsborough said he could have written about just the institutional history of the newspaper but chose to write a novel because that gives much more latitude.
He weaves many characters into the story, including French President Charles de Gaulle, New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger and Washington Post owner Katharine Graham.
In 1977, Goldsborough became the Paris bureau chief for Newsweek magazine.
Part of his job, he said, was taking Graham to dinner whenever she came to Paris.
“I came to know her very well,” he said.
Chris Travis of Sewickley told Goldsborough that she used to live in Geneva and is eager to read his new book.
“It's such a vibrant city,” Travis said. “I am looking forward to reading it.”
Goldsborough also wrote the 2008 book “Misfortunes of Wealth: A Family Memoir,” a retelling of the story of his family which includes the Shields, Crittendens, Olivers, Nevilles and Craigs — military, political and industrial leaders of their time.
Larissa Dudkiewicz is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.