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Do the French still love Jerry Lewis? According to Adam Gopnik, they never really did. The author of Paris to the Moon (pictured), an engaging chronicle of the day-to-day life of an American in Paris, Gopnik views this alleged passion for Lewis as a myth reflecting cultural currents that are very particularly French. "It's not that they love Jerry Lewis in particular," said Gopnik in an interview with the Indy. "It's that they're enamored of any American popular artist who has an oeuvre, a considered body of work." A long history of mutual, skeptical fascination binds the cultures of France and America--from Henry James' Innocents Abroad to Henry Miller's bawdy expatriates, or Janet Flanner's "Letters from Paris" in The New Yorker. Most of the pieces in Gopnik's book appeared in the same magazine, where he has been a staff writer since 1986. What attracts Gopnik to the French mindset, as he sees it, is its attunement to micro-levels of understanding, and Gopnik's own best pieces draw philosophical import from small, diurnal events--ordering a Thanksgiving turkey, searching for the right coffee bean, joining a gym. Hear Gopnik read from Paris to the Moon Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Regulator Bookshop in Durham. --James Morrison

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