The words of a seemingly unknown reader have been on my mind for years. She left numerous notes in an old Paris guidebook, held by the university’s Special Collections.
Her knowledge of Paris eateries and her taste — exacting and passionate — are evident. The reader and writer left few other clues to her identity, aside from inscribing her name , which is Hazel, in the volumes.
I’ve finally made time to linger over the pages. After some tentative conclusions about what I was seeing, I went looking for Hazel. Initial searches didn’t yield results, so it was rather thrilling to start seeing actual facts emerge from my efforts today — confirmation of how her last name is spelled, the name of her husband (the existence of a husband), the availability of more things she’s written. After wondering about this reader for some time and not having a clue, I found her — can locate her in time, place her in the world.
Curiously, she seems to have led a rather peripatetic, writerly life.