Grief Therapy in the City of Light

Winnipeg Free Press, September 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Grief Therapy in the City of Light


Sometimes, love isn't all it's cracked up to be. At least, that is the case with American author and journalist Kati Marton's eighth book.

Marton claims "all stories about Paris are love stories. And so is mine."

Hers is told as a memoir about her late husband, Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador and special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, who died of a heart attack in late 2010 at age 69.

Writing the book was undoubtedly a necessary catharsis for Marton, and those who have had the misfortune to lose a partner may find some common ground here.

Unfortunately, there's not much else to engage most readers on a deeper level. Paris: A Love Story is essentially a timeline of Marton's marriages -- to the late ABC News correspondent Peter Jennings and later, to Holbrooke -- and her career as a journalist.

For many years, Marton, now 63, was a foreign news correspondent for ABC News, where she met Jennings, whom she married in 1979 and divorced in 1993.

She is currently the director for the Committee to Protect Journalists and she serves on the Human Rights Watch board of directors.

Marton first went to France to study as a young woman, and when she met Paris, it was love at first sight. She spent time there with Jennings, and it was the halfway point between Washington and Afghanistan where she and Holbrooke met up to steal a few days together.

Paris is also where Marton retreats to grieve and lick her wounds after his death. The couple had been wed for 15 years.

To her credit, Marton does capture some of the magical qualities of the City of Light and its people, and there are several charming portraits of neighbourhood characters.

"The waiter at Cafe Le Rostand.. …

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