no regrets: the life of édith piaf

I have spent this weekend pretending it’s the 30’s-40’s… and by that I mean watching Public Enemies, shopping for hats à la Lilly Dache, and devouring this biography of Édith Piaf:

I don’t read nonfiction for leisure very often but I saw this while searching for livres en français and picked it up on a lark. I had heard Piaf’s name in French classes, collected a compilation of her songs for my iPod over the years, and watched La Vie en Rose, but that was as much as I knew. In No Regrets, Burke paints a stimulating, insightful portrait of the French chanteuse. I haven’t been able to put it down.

Maybe it’s how Burke opens by comparing Piaf’s early life to Les Misérables (arguably my favorite novel of all time). Or maybe it’s the vivid descriptions and the way she infuses quotes from various sources with her eloquent storytelling. Either way, I’m turning pages as if I were re-reading The Three Musketeers yet learning a lot about the musical genius that was France’s “little sparrow.”

Read the New York Times review here. Buy it on Amazon here.