Review: Girl in the Afternoon: A Novel of Paris
In historical fiction, setting is everything. It’s core standard* is to give one a peek into the day-to-day life of another era, while helping the modern reader understand the choices of a cultural standard faded almost completely from view.
Girl in The Afternoon does well in this regard. The history never impedes the plot, but the plot never breaks the immersion of the period. Burdick makes a choice to bring a worldwide known historical figure into her novel, and handles it with a delicate touch… a quiet walk-on rather than a series of name dropping riffs. Again, a beautiful harmony between plot and setting.
A genteelly paced story, Girl revolves around the theme of love in absentia. It examines how separation, no matter how much we wish it were so, does not break, bury, or destroy a love. No matter it’s appropriateness, it’s madness, it’s secret shames, love is not a force to be trifled with, and there is no hiding from it, or it’s consequences.
Girl In The Afternoon is the kind of read most loved by those who dream of life in another era. Ladies in long skirts and the quiet hedonism of Paris in La Belle Epoque.
* as far as i’m concerned anyway