ALL THE LIGHT THERE WAS by Nancy Kricorian

The setting is World War II Paris — when the Germans begin their occupation of the city, the protagonist of this story is just turning sixteen. Maral Pegorian and her older brother, Missak, are part of an Armenian family displaced to France after the Armenian genocide. They are stateless refugees and have made the suburb of Belleville in Paris, their home. Maral’s father is a cobbler and owns a small shoe shop hoping to one day pass on his skills to his son.

January 7, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Coming-of-Age, Facing History, France, Reading Guide

THE PARIS ARCHITECT by Charles Belfoure

It is Paris in the spring of 1942. Paris, the glorious “City of Lights” is even more wondrous in the springtime….but not for the French, not in 1942. It is the second year of the victorious Nazi occupation, and the French are struggling to get by. There are economic problems with the payment of the costs of a three-hundred-thousand strong occupying German army, which amounts to twenty million Reichmarks per day; lack of food for French citizens – the Germans seize about 20% of the French food production, which causes severe disruption to the household economy of the French people; the disorganization of transport, except for the railway system which relies on French domestic coal supplies; the Allied blockade, restricting all imports into the country; the extreme shortage of petrol and diesel fuel; (one walks or rides a bike); France has no indigenous oil production and all imports have stopped; labor shortages, particularly in the countryside, due to the large number of French prisoners of war held in Germany. And then there was the Jewish problem.

December 8, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Facing History, France

13, RUE THERESE by Elena Mauli Shapiro

In Paris-born Shapiro’s first novel, a young visiting American professor, Trevor Stratton, catches the attention of his prospective Parisian secretary, Josianne, not for his scholarship in 19th-century French literature, but for his poetry translations: “A translator, caught in the space between two tongues.”

In hopes that he is a little different (and after an appreciative look at his photograph), Josianne places a box with a red-checked cover in an empty file cabinet in his new office.

March 25, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, France, Unique Narrative

ENOUGH ABOUT LOVE by Herve Le Tellier

Thomas loves Louise, a lawyer. Louise is married to Romain, a scientist. Louise loves Thomas. Yves, a writer, loves Anna. Anna, a psychiatrist, loves Yves, a man she finds “unsettling.” Anna is married to Stan, an ophthalmologist. Thomas is Anna’s psychoanalyst. No, this isn’t an LSAT logic problem or a torrid soap opera. These are the characters that comprise Le Tellier’s urbane, au courant Paris comedy, ENOUGH ABOUT LOVE, a droll romp that is nevertheless intimate and complex within the playful pages.

March 4, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Contemporary, France, Humorous, Translated, World Lit

THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain

Before Ernest Hemingway was ERNEST HEMINGWAY – one of the most revered, studied, analyzed, and parodied authors of American literature – he was a young man with a burning talent, staking his claim to a bright future.

And part of this future included Hadley Richardson, his first wife, a woman who was his equal in many ways – a risk-taker, adventurer, and copious drinker. Paula McLain – in an addictive and mesmerizing debut book – breathes life into their life together in Paris in the 1920s, when everything was just starting to come together.

February 25, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Facing History, France

PAGANINI’S GHOST by Paul Adam

Cremona, Italy. On the eve of an important performance, local luthier Gianni Castiglione is called on to examine Il Cannone, the violin once played by Niccolò Paganini, which would be played that night by competition winner Yevgeny Ivanov. A minor adjustment is made and at the recital both violin and musician perform flawlessly. The next day, however, a concert attendee, a French art dealer, is found dead in his Cremona hotel. Two items are noted among his possessions: a locked golden box and a torn corner of a music score from the night’s previous performance. Gianni’s police detective friend, Antonio Guastafeste, enlists his help and the two soon find themselves on an international chase, on the trail of not just a murderer but of a priceless historical treasure, one worth killing for.

January 5, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, France, italy, Mystery/Suspense, Sleuths Series, United Kingdom