Read Black Elk in Paris by Kate Horsley Online


It's 1888, and Paris is drunk on its own beauty and scientific and artistic accomplishment. The city is poised to host the Universal Exposition, a testimony to French power and colonization, and to unveil its extraordinary centerpiece, the Eiffel Tower. Philippe Normand is a modest, likable physician who, in his profession, is privy to the foibles and addictions of the ricIt's 1888, and Paris is drunk on its own beauty and scientific and artistic accomplishment. The city is poised to host the Universal Exposition, a testimony to French power and colonization, and to unveil its extraordinary centerpiece, the Eiffel Tower. Philippe Normand is a modest, likable physician who, in his profession, is privy to the foibles and addictions of the rich, the desperation of the poor, and the egotism of his colleagues. He is a regular guest at the dinner table of the Balise family, whose health he has cared for over many years. He is especially close to Madou, the strong-willed youngest daughter in the family, who is fed up with the arrogance of French culture and the constraints it puts on women. Philippe himself is lonely, burnt out on his profession, and disillusioned with conventional medical science. While attending a Wild West show that is touring Europe, Madou is strangely drawn to the Native American Black Elk. "Choice"—as he is known in the show—is seen as an oddity by French society; he is a mysterious figure, poised and uncannily intuitive, but desperately homesick. Philippe and Madou try to help him, but it is Choice who ends up transforming the lives of all those around him....

Title : Black Elk in Paris
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781590304204
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Black Elk in Paris Reviews

  • Book Concierge
    2018-10-20 11:31

    2.5** The Basic Facts: In 1887 William (Buffalo Bill) Cody’s Wild West Show went to Europe to perform for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Celebration. A young Lakota man, listed as “Choice” on the group roster but later known as Black Elk, was among the performers. But when the ship left England to return to America, Black Elk and another Lakota man were mistakenly left behind. With no money, Black Elk joined another show run by Mexican Joe, hoping to earn enough to get back to America. In later interviews he described his severe homesickness, which led him to take refuge with a woman friend in Paris and her family. Horsley takes this snippet of history and imagines a psychological, spiritual and philosophical journey for her three lead characters. The novel is narrated by Philippe Normand, a physician who is employed by several wealthy patients, including the Balise family. The youngest Balise daughter, Madeleine (known as Madou), is a free spirit and Philippe is especially drawn to her. It is Madou who befriends Choice. I was intrigued by the basic premise of the story, and Horsley does a fine job of putting us into the late 19th century Parisian culture – including the excitement of the World Exposition and the building of the Eiffel Tower. I typically like books with a philosophical or spiritual bent, and Horsley had her characters indulge in several interesting discussions on such topics. There were passages that were beautifully written and some thought-provoking ideas put forth. I especially liked the way in which Choice/Black Elk explained his spiritual journeys. I wish Black Elk had been the narrator.I never warmed to Philippe and I saw him as the weakest character. Other novelists have used a weak character as narrator to great effect (Nick in The Great Gatsby comes to mind), but I just didn’t buy it here. The central relationships just didn’t work for me. The three friends form an odd sort of ménage à trois – their interactions fascinated and puzzled me, but ultimately left me cold. I definitely felt like the third wheel (or is it fourth) in the “relationship,” and this resulted in my feeling talked AT rather than drawn into the discussion. I’d be willing to try another book by Horsley because I did like elements of her writing, though I didn’t particularly like this novel.

  • Ellen Johnson
    2018-10-10 09:43

    interesting bit of history. a great Indian leader performing in a wild west show in Paris who gets left behind and the people who get to know him.

  • Theredcentipede
    2018-09-24 15:53

    I think it is pretty safe to officially say, I love Kate Horsley. I wish I knew what exactly it is that draws me to her books, but I do not know. I always, never-fail, zip through her books and find myself feeling somehow fulfilled by the worlds she creates.In this book, a family physician is following the Balise family and their three daughters. Of particular interest is Madou who struggles with the understanding that she simply does not "belong"--to her family, to her city, to her culture. She becomes fascinated? infatuated? interested? in Choice, an American Indian accidentally stranded in Europe. Like her, he does not "fit" in this society, but unlike her, he knows where he supposed to be. The doctor's medical viewpoints added an interesting an unexpected layer to the story. It makes you wonder--who is "normal", what is "normal" and how can we ever understand normalcy across gender and cultural lines. (The more I write in this review, the more I realize how much I liked this book).Most importantly, I believe in her narrators. It feels as if someone is sitting in front of me, telling me a story of their life. There are no obvious literary tricks, like big cliff hangers at the end of chapters or leading the reader down obviously false paths. There is simply a story being told. It taps into my desire to understand people rather than be "entertained" by a book (although I suppose I am entertained).I also thoroughly appreciate her treatment of women in society in this book. There are cringe-worthy stereotypes that are just simply shown without fanfare or long diatribes. She trusts that her readers understand the complexities of the situation and she will not defend the disheartening attitudes against women, but she will not turn the book into a lecture either. The story speaks for itself. And the characters will play out how those views of women affect society as a whole. This was one of the most fascinating aspects of this book. (For example, a woman in an asylum is told to pretend to be happy and thankful for the asylum or the doctors will remove her ovaries.)I feel that her books are always kind of melancholy. I'm not sure what that says about me, but I love them. I also recognize that this probably isn't a book for everyone. It is quiet and pensive and grey, like my favorite winter days.

  • Laura
    2018-09-19 08:27

    This book provides a hedonistic portrait of Paris in the late 1890s, everyone drinking absinthe, and out whoring it up in the bars and cafes of the city. Men were given opium for their ailments and women were considered to be suffering from "hysteria" if they were the least bit non-conformist. Enter into the story an exotic Oglala Sioux named Black Elk, accidently left behind in Paris while touring with a "Wild West" show. It's an interesting clash of cultures, and shows the different perspectives of two very different men of medicine. As I finished this book I realized that I have another very similar story on my shelf called "The Heartsong of Charging Elk" which tells of another Sioux, Charging Elk, also left behind in France, this time in Marseilles. Should be interesting to compare these two historical novels.

  • Suzanne
    2018-09-21 13:28

    In 1887, the great Lakota medicine man Black Elk traveled to Europe as part of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. He was inadvertently left behind, became homesick, and stayed, for a time, with a woman friend and her family in Paris. Kate Horsley has taken this intriguing bit of history and fashioned it into a delightful and charming novel about the frienship between Black Elk, a somewhat fusty French doctor who is fond of puddings, and a free-spirited young woman called Madou. I loved this book.

  • Sarah
    2018-09-30 07:46

    I really enjoyed this book. It was a great representation of the different cultures that were colliding during this time, and individuals within each one realizing that each has value and worth. I especially loved Madou. She was a wonderful character.

  • Megan
    2018-10-08 12:30

    Horsley tells the brief tale of an unlikely group of friends in 19th century Paris. This is one of those books where what's NOT said is more intriguing that what is. A good read for anyone (like me) interested in the Victorian Era.

  • Cathie
    2018-09-22 11:31

    I really enjoyed this book, especially the attention given by the author to psychological ground and the characters' psyches.

  • Kelly Brouse
    2018-10-18 08:34

    A pretty quick and enjoyable read with a somewhat disappointing end.

  • Shannon
    2018-10-08 08:48

    This was a good book. Though I do feel that it was not what I expected when reading it. Maybe I figured it would be more historical than it was.

  • Denise DeRocher
    2018-10-06 09:28

    Great writing, a bizarre theme - very enjoyable!

  • Nicole Beck
    2018-09-28 08:29

    simply loved the narrator, setting, style, and ultimate themes of this story. if i could live in a book, this is one of the top contenders