Beer & Book #6


Tonight’s beer: Ayinger Hefeweizen
Tonight’s book: Paris France by Gertrude Stein

Notes: Adam Gopnik’s introduction is atrocious, as if he couldn’t be bothered to reread the thing–and, y’all, at 105 pages, it ain’t that long–before sniffily half-liking/half-dismissing it for not being what it never intended to be. But, to be fair, it’s not what its title claims, instead being very much Stein’s self-portrait, filtered through a country she loves. (Yes, “Paris” is in the title but it’s largely about France–or, at least, the French–as a whole.) So, it’s the same thing Stein’s always doing, writing about herself through other means, and Gopnik knows enough to know this. Since he hinges so much of his criticism on Stein’s apolitical stance (he’s wrong, by the way) on her unwillingness to engage with the just-started World War II, it would behoove him to note that–as she mentions several times in the book–the book was actually written mostly in 1938 and in 1939 before Hitler’s invasion of Poland (1 September 1939), which officially kicked off the atrocities. So, a good part of his churlishness is based on his basic fudging of the book’s chronology. Anyway, I’m enjoying it so far, and finding her good company in the City of Light, most of which is in her own head. Oh, the beer: A basic hefeweizen–citrusy, sweet, light and summery, with a very slight aroma of cloves and a blonde coloring that’s more appealing than the beer’s actual taste.

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Atlanta, GA. He is the co-author (with Daniel Couch) of Bob Mould's Workbook (Bloomsbury, 2017). His work has been published in The Quarterly Conversation,, Bookslut (RIP), The Comics Journal, The Baseball Chronicle, and other periodicals. Twitter: @walter_biggins.
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