Jules Lacour is a seventy-four year old Jewish cellist living in Paris. His parents died during The Holocaust when he was four years old, his wife, whom he adored, died of cancer, and his young grandson was just diagnosed with leukemia. Jules feels certain that if he can get his hands on a huge sum of money, his grandson will be able to go to Switzerland or The United States, work with the finest doctors in the world, and his life will be saved. How Lacour plans to obtain the money, along with a few subplots that include a May-December romance and the murder of two bigoted Muslims, is the crux of Paris in the Present Tense.
Helprin writes a good story and is very knowledgeable about Paris and music, but some readers will find him too wordy. If you are in the mood for a quick read, don’t read this novel, but if you’re a Mark Helprin fan, and I am, you will enjoy Paris in the Present Tense.