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Paris Cafe: The Select Crowd

Recently translated and published in Korean

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KIRKUS REVIEW: Two devoted patrons of the celebrated spot that has served coffee and booze to Hemingway, Picasso and numerous other notables display their enduring affection in words and drawings.

Fitch (Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child, 1997, etc.) joins forces with illustrator and editorial cartoonist Tulka to fashion a charming love-letter to their favorite hangout: Cafe Le Select in Paris. The format and text are as unpretentious as a paper napkin, and readers' responses will range from sighs of nostalgia (aw, they no longer roast their own beans!) to gasps of surprise (poet Hart Crane once started a brawl there) to smiles -- maybe even laughs -- at the myriad illustrations, many of which consume and entire page. Among the standouts: Hart Crane pictured with a leering sailor in the near background: 18 varieties of French noses: a youthful Bill Murray looking frisky: a well-coiffed Hemingway, writing implement in hand: Isadora Duncan reading a newspaper about the Sacco and Vanzetti case. But this is not just a gallery of celebrities. Tulka also provides full-page drawings of each waiter and many genial caricatures of today's regulars. Meanwhile, Fitch swiftly sketches Le Sélect's history. It opened in 1925, is mentioned in The Sun Also Rises, has been run by the same family since 1978. The authors believe the café has endured because of its history, its location (close to the Metro), its determination to avoid commercialization (it sells no T-shirts or refrigerator magnets) and its devotion to service. The owners and employees treat the regulars well, allowing them to sit and sip as long as they want. The authors also offer the history of coffee and cafés, a few of Le Sélect's top recipes and a description of the its routines and rituals.
A tribute so pleasant and persuasive that swarming tourists may make it difficult for Fitch and Tulka to find a table.
-- Kirkus Review

BOOKLIST REVIEW: In this droll, delicious little volume, Fitch and Tulka provide an affectionate portrait of the Select Cafe, one of those famous Paris eateries that have served as candles to intellectual moths--French, American, and otherwise--for nearly a century. As Fitch reels off anecdotes about those who spent time writing, chatting, caffeinating, and dreaming in the Montparnasse spot, the book reads like a Who's Who of twentieth-century arts circles with cameo appearances by Hemingway, Buñuel, Brassai, Giacometti, Beckett, Picasso, Noguchi, de Beauvoir, Satie, Poulenc, Baldwin, and Godard. The text, by the author of several books on American expatriates in Paris, is slender and sketchy, but that leaves more room for Tulka's marvelous line drawings, which capture the essences not only of the café's celebrity patrons but also its proprietors and waiters, along with numerous guests whose names are not known, but who are blithely immortalized. -- Booklist


The Grand Literary Cafés of Europe

“Tells the fascinating stories behind some of the finest literary cafés in more than twenty European cities” -- Traveller in France

“A lavish tour” -- The Travel Bookseller

“A beautiful book” -- The Sainsbury’s Magazine

“This fascinating book charts the evolution of the café and takes us on a tour of some of Europe’s finest literary establishments” --Royal Wings Magazine


The Erotic Life Of Anais Nin



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Remarkably intimate, hypnotic, probing portrait --Publishers Weekly

Manages to unravel the 'hidden image in the tapestry' with a truly Jamesian talent --Le Figaro

Superbly written, sexually charged --Booklist

Anaïs Nin left so many trails of clues about her several lives that she would confound Sherlock Holmes himself. Noël Riley Fitch has admirably decoded these secrets and, in the process, shed full moon and sunlight on the author's revolutionary lifetime diary. An intelligent new assessment of Nin and her writing which will solve the riddles and answer the questions. --Erica Jong

This remarkably intimate, hypnotic, probing portrait . . . helps explain the charismatic power and abiding appeal of Nin. --Publishers Weekly

Mesmerizing. Anaïs: The Erotic Life of Anaïs Nin will give every woman pause and cause her to reexamine her values and her own psychological truth. --Gloria Vanderbilt

Literary Cafes of Paris

My favorite. . .indispensable for any fan of the Parisian cafe scene --Book World

Most appealing. . .anecdotal, historical, entertaining, informative --Philadelphia Inquirer

Hemingway in Paris

Essential reading for Hemingway fanatics --New Republic

A joy to read, Fitch's volume conveys the irresistible patina of passion and sense of place found by Hemingway --Booklist


Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child






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Entertaining and informative, this work represents the best of biographical writing --Library Journal

[Fitch's] details are exquisite. . .An exhaustively researched, charming story of a life well lived, and an admiring portrait of a good marriage --Kirkus

A marvelous and often mesmerizing tale that leads through India and China during World War II and ultimately to France, where Child acquires her culinary credentials --Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

It's certainly a deep dish on the food world --House Beautiful

It's got everything a best-seller biography should have--sex, money, romance, adventure, celebrity
--Betty Fussell, Food Arts

This fabulous book proves that Julia Child is quite a dish! It's just wonderful reading. --Beverly Sills

This book brilliantly profiles Julia Child's gargantuan spirit and joie de vivre. Her genius as a cooking teacher is almost an aside; it's her sheer exuberance for living that could teach us all a few things. It's no wonder America has long been having a mad love affair with Julia. --Charlie Trotter, Author of Charlie Trotter's Seafood and Owner of Charlie Trotter's in Chicago

Julia Child is a national treasure, and she is beautifully served by Noël Riley Fitch's intimate and illuminating biography. --Justin Kaplan, Author of Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Appetite for Life... Our admiration and love for Julia grows stronger as we keep reading... The narration reads like a thriller, vivid and engrossing... This well-written, lively tale brings to life a complex, multifaceted personality, endearing, and, at times, heroic. --Jacques Pépin

Reading this book not only left me itching to cook something, but also looking to discover new and unknown delights, both of the palate and of the heart. --Alfred Portale, Gotham Bar and Grill

When I first met Julia, I felt that I had known her all my life... now, following her story, I believe that I have. She is astonishingly feminine, embracing even those with whome she disagrees... providing always that the taste is good.
--Graham Kerr

All the Julia stories are in Fitch's book, and more, about the remarkable woman who has so ceaselessly offered her fellow citizens the promise of decent pleasure at every regal or normal meal. --Lionel Tiger, Darwin Professor of Anthropology, Rutgers University


Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation


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Recently translated into French by Elizabeth Danger and published by Perrin Publishers in 2011: Sylvia Beach: Une Americaine 'a Paris

Probably the best and most complete history of that important period --Anatole Broyard, NYT

Rich, delightful, compulsively readable --Publishers Weekly

I found it enthralling. Her book is a brilliantly researched history of literary Paris --Eric Hiscock, The Bookseller, London

Courageous, hardworking, self-sacrificing, determined, witty, and charming, Sylvia Beach built her famous Shakespeare and Company Bookshop into a veritable hub of international literature, published Joyce's Ulysses, served as cheerful den-mother to hundreds of writers, artists, and composers, and, as Andre Chamson truly said, "did more to link England, the United States, Ireland, and France than four great ambassadors combined." Professor Fitch's richly detailed biography, the product of ten years' research, projects Miss Beach's busy life against the moving background of literary Paris in the golden age between the wars, and stands as an admirable and wonderfully readable achievement in historical biography. --Carlos Baker

An absorbing book, backed by an impressive amount of research. Working from the rich collection of Sylvia Beach's papers, Noël Fitch has written an objective story that corrects many of the errors and misjudgments to be found in other literary memoirs of those eventful years in Paris. --Malcolm Cowley

Fitch fills out many gaps in the Joyce story and offers us a new view of Joyce, the genius, the injustice collector, and the most incredible literary leech of all time. Sylvia Beach emerges as one of the most remarkable women of the twenties. --Leon Edel

Noël Riley Fitch has written a perfect book, full to the brim with literary history, correct and whole-hearted both in statement and in implication. She makes me feel and remember a good many things that happened before and after my time. I'm glad to have lived long enough to read it.
--Glenway Wescott


Faith and Imagination

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The 10 essays by these evangelical scholars are reflective, probing, and analytical. In this fine book, literature and theology inform each other, searching for Truth, grappling with the big questions.--Ralph E. Neil, Dmin, Dean, School of Theology and Christian Ministries

Noel Riley Fitch © All Rights Reserved
The Grand Literary Cafe's of Europe Paris Cafe The Select Crowd Faith and Imagination Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation Appetite for Life The Biography of Julia Child Literary Cafes of Paris The Erotic Life of Anais Nin