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Paris is savage. Wonderfully beautiful but savage in an unexpected quarter ; in its calculating heart. The secret of the whole affair — it’s revealed in Balzac, but no one seems to read him seriously — is a certain grotesque arithmetic. The wit of the city is a branch of addition and subtraction. Every American boy brought up in a good bourgeois atmosphere breathes the air of home in Paris. And in addition, it is Paris.
Saul Bellow, to David Bazelon