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July 25th, 2008, 18:57
I just got back from a little excursion to Marseille. I read Jean-Claude Izzo's Total Kheops while there. It's a hard-boiled detective story set in the city, and was very interesting to read there (although it did have the side effect that I was seeing hookers, dealers, mafiosi, Nazis, and hoodlums of every description at every street corner).

I wonder how it reads in English, though -- in French it's perfectly natural to switch from a brutal murder scene to a recipe for stuffed sweet bell peppers in tomato and herb sauce, but I'm not sure how well that sort of thing translates.

Marseille is an interesting city. It's not as welcoming or easy to decipher as most cities in this part of France, but it just started to unfold over the three days we were there. It's chaotic, crazy, varied, colorful, and very very international -- not just the Beurs that make the papers (in a bad way, mostly), but Vietnamese, Chinese, Italians, Iberians, Africans, and what have you. I liked it a lot. Great food too.
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