We’ll Never Have Paris #12
Andria Alefhi, editor
Nothing is more reassuring than the unhappiness of a stranger. To know that someone you don’t know is unhappy somehow makes you feel better. Don’t misunderstand—it’s not glee towards their suffering, but a very subtle reminder that in life, we’re all in this together, and that there are other people who are at wit’s end means you aren’t alone in your feelings, especially if you feel the way they do. It’s this notion that makes the latest issue of literary zine We’ll Never Have Paris so comforting. The ‘zine, which focuses on different topics each issue, tackles the city of New York, and why people leave the City That Never Sleeps. Six stories, all in-depth and personal, help to describe the reasons for becoming an ex-pat. People in a city so renowned and respected, unhappy, not content, and searching for something more than the everything that it offers.
The stories are compelling: from a person who attended AA meetings around the world, only to discover that, like McDonalds, there’s really nothing different about them, save for the language; a fellow falls quickly into marriage shortly after moving to New York City, only to leave it after a few months, happy to do so; the longtime resident who hates the city but not enough to leave it; the writer who is there for a brief two years, but weighs the anonymity with the city with the unknown fate of a beloved coworker. The story that compels the most is the one who declares that one lives an inherently nomadic life in New York City, due to the fluctuation of rent and employment, and thus describes the experience of having to change—the final straw being the elderly neighbor who caused a violent scene in their apartment building over a person he hallucinated as threatening him. Only the story of the Brooklyn resident who moves to Michigan and complains about not having a car mars an otherwise perfect collection of stories.
In Louis Malle’s 1981 film My Dinner With Andre, Andre Gregory famously discussed the theory of New York City and why people don’t want to leave. This latest issue of We’ll Never Have Paris captures six stories of people who embody this theory, embrace this theory, and defy this theory, An excellent read, this—and one that will send you reeling for back issues.
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