The Coldest Winter


When does elegant minimalism become coy withholding? Paula Fox’s lean, exquisitely written memoir, The Coldest Winter — a sequel to 2001’s Borrowed Finery — walks that line. In 1946, Fox moved to Europe as a reporter, where she played bridge with a concentration camp survivor, covered a Polish election, had an affair with a Corsican politician, and met Jean-Paul Sartre. What did the romance with the married Corsican mean to the 22-year-old Fox? What did she and Sartre talk about? Inquiring minds want answers to scores of questions like these. But Fox isn’t telling, and the fleeting glimpses she offers into her past are more tantalizing than satisfying.