“The Shrines on Boulevard Voltaire”

In 2015 Ian McEwan wrote for the New Yorker on vernacular shrines commemorating the victims of the terrorist mass shooting at the Bataclan Theatre:

In the land of Voltaire, on the boulevard named for him, a general absence of religious belief hardly detracts from the seriousness of the shrines; why bend to a god that permits such carnage? The candles, flowers, and cards speak to something deeper, more vital than the supernatural; in general sorrow, a profound need for community, in which the massed cameras and their self-important minders play an important role by proving the global seriousness of the moment.

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