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Zelda, The Queen of Paris: The True Story Of The Luckiest Dog In The World Hardcover – October 4, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A grungy street dog turned world adventurer, with breeding, class, and spirit that comes from who knows where, Zelda is always out front, leading the Chutkow clan in this delightful tale from New Delhi to Paris to the wine country of Northern California. This dog’s got good karma!” --Richard Mendelson, author of Wine in America and From Demon to Darling: A Legal History of Wine in America

"Zelda is an exquisitely charming tale of redemption through the wiles of a mangy Indian slum dog. Slum dog!  Yes. I read this irresistible book in one sitting, and now slum dogs are my favorite breed of mutt." --John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

"A heartwarming tale of a street dog from India and her faithful human companions.Journalist Chutkow (VISA: The Power of an Idea, 2001, etc.) opens a door into his personal life as he narrates the charming story of Zelda, the Indian scavenger dog. Befriending a scruffy street dog was one of the last things on the author’s mind while working as an AP journalist in India under Indira Gandhi’s rule. However, this ragamuffin “monster” and “trollop” of a dog wheedled her way into the Chutkow’s life. She became a steadfast companion to the author, his wife and newborn son through her “boundless courage, humor and high spirits.” When Chutkow was reassigned to Paris, Zelda followed. Parisians turned their nose up at the little urchin, but the author leaned on Zelda’s friendship when his son had several medical emergencies. Interspersed among trips to the hospital are amusing stories of Zelda growing addicted to Camembert cheese, warm croissants and homemade borscht. Eventually, Zelda gained renown in Paris when she helped police apprehend a burglar. Suddenly, she was the “Queen of Paris” and “the very picture of European refinement.” And yet, writes the author, “she remained the high-spirited, impulsive Indian street girl, charming, capricious, and totally untamed, just as she had been born to be. After more than a decade in Paris with luxurious vacations in Sardinia, Chutkow returned to America with his family and Zelda. Chutkow weaves a tender, detail-rich story of how kindness and faith in the inherent goodness of an animal can turn a vagabond into a loving member of the family." --Kirkus

"If you ever dreamed of coming back in your second life as a dog, you couldn’t do much

better than have Paul and Eda Chutkow as your owners. . . . This onetime underdog’s upbeat temperament is contagious everywhere she travels, from the streets of Paris to a friend’s vacation home on the island of Sardinia, Italy, and later in Napa Valley, California. . . . Zelda’s sometimes bumpy ride is captured in detailed description and engaging scenarios, leaving the reader with a megawatt grin one minute and a delightful sense of wonderment the next." –Seattle Kennel Club

“[Paul Chutkow’s] story of Zelda is a modern day Pygmalion tale, in which Liza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, who was ostensibly the beneficiary of Professor Henry Higgins’s motivations, turns out to be Professor Higgins’ salvation. Similarly, though Paul Chutkow labels his Zelda as 'the luckiest dog in the world,' many readers of his evocative, entertaining story would recognize that it is actually Paul Chutkow who is the luckiest guy in the world.” --New York Journal of Books

"In the era of Marley and Me and the dozens of imitators who jumped onto the dog memoir bandwagon, this gem stands out. . . . This slum dog who rises above her humble beginnings will win over even the most cynical reader." --San Francisco Book Review




From the Inside Flap

One day a scraggly little street dog came begging at the back door of a young American couple living in New Delhi, India. She was painfully thin, with blotches on her coat from malnutrition, and she looked as though she hadn’t slept in weeks. But when the door opened, this strange little dog wagged her tail, put an endearing smile on her face, and charmed her way straight inside.

In India, shopkeepers usually shoo away wild street dogs—or worse—but this little creature was impossible to resist. She had humor, she had joie de vivre, and she had a devilish side that quickly earned her the name Zelda. And so it began: a magical odyssey that would carry this sassy urchin from the slums of India to the elegant gardens and parlors of Paris, to the sun-dappled beaches of Italy, and finally to the fabled hills and vineyards of California Wine Country. Zelda truly was “the luckiest dog in the world.”

But this is a story about far more than luck. It’s a story about dignity and courage, about how a generous heart and an indomitable spirit can lift you up, change your life, and lead you to happiness and even triumph. Zelda begins life as a homeless beggar girl, but thanks to her character and panache she becomes a star, known far and wide as the Queen of Paris, and a real-life heroine you will never forget.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; 1 edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076277147X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762771479
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,447,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 40 customer reviews
Living with the Chutkows in India, Paris, Sardinia and the Napa Valley is a trip!
diana coleman
With a generous mind and kind heart, Paul Chutkow has made his account of Zelda's life a rich and uplifting read.
louise newman
I stayed up way past my usual bedtime to finish the book -- reading for five hours straight.
Elaine

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By peter j cohen on September 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is much more than a Dog Story. Zelda was a treasured pet of a foreign correspondent, as a result she was able to rise from an endangered life on the streets of India, to the comforts of Paris, and the Napa Valley. Along the way the reader gets a peak at interesting times, people, and places. Chutkow is able to create a classy tale of experience, that is humanized by his faithful,but not always easily managed Slum Dog. This is truly a wonderful, positive book for all who believe in the redemptive powers of relationships, both human, and animal.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Simone Simonsen on September 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a remarkable book. It is small in physical size but its scope is huge.In it we are transported from the slums of India to the tony salons of Paris. We are invited to join Paul as he walks the streets of Paris with Jack Hemingway listening as Jack talks about his father.Then we are whisked away to the beaches of Sardinia to gorgeous scenery and luscious food. Zelda is the heroine of the story, true,but in telling us about her antics (and some of them are amazing) Paul has woven a delicate fabric of story-telling that encompasses wry observations and affectionate comments about the many stories he has covered during his long distinguished career as a foreign correspondent for some of the most important newspapers and wire services in the world.It is a privilege for us to be invited into the comfortable lap of Paul's immediate family, and I was struck by the generous spirit and warm hearts of the Chutkow family that brought this amazing little dog into a lifetime of love and acceptance instead of a miserable death in the slums of India.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By louise newman on October 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who has been owned by an animal will instantly understand how Zelda, the 'Indian street girl' inveigled her way into the home and hearts of the Chutkow family - with a mixture of irrepressible canine charm, guile, and pure survival instinct. But this is more than just a tale about a dog who landed, her 'backside in butter' as one's grandmother might have put it!

Against a backdrop of India in the time of Indira Gandhi, Paris and finally, the Napa Valley, Zelda, along with Sheela, the Chutkow's cook, housekeeper and much loved 'Indian godmother' are portraits of dignity and class that transcend background, race and species. With a generous mind and kind heart, Paul Chutkow has made his account of Zelda's life a rich and uplifting read. Perfect for readers of all ages.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Madame J on October 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a treasure! The images the author creates are vivid and alive. An amazing story well told.. I was sorry when the book ended, and how often do we feel that way about a book? Not often! It truly touched me....... You'll love it too.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cowboy Blue on October 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. I loved the spirit and insight this savvy dog brought to the author's family. I have owned dogs in the past and must say that this is a special dog and a special book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Williamboot on January 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In this unusual book about his years in India, France and California, Paul Chutkow has taken the memoirs of a journalist at home and abroad one step further by yielding center-stage to his dog. The result is "Zelda, The Queen of Paris," a short, sharp read that delivers charm, humor and poignancy.

Zelda, the Cinderella slumdog of the story, is "a scraggly little street dog" who turned up at the Chutkow family's New Delhi door one day, begging for food. She might have been shooed away as just another of the Indian capital's multitudes of pariah dogs, but this one, Chutkow, writes, "had dignity. If beg she must, then she would do so with panache and put her best paw forward" _ and straight into her new owners' hearts.

By the time the India assignment ends, Zelda is part of the family, and there is no question that she will make the complicated (for a dog) journey to Paris for Chutkow's next assignment. There the little mongrel has to work hard to be accepted, butting heads with sniffy Parisian neighbors until she resoundingly establishes her credentials by... wait for it ... thwarting a wine robbery! Finally, the Chutkows plus Zelda come home to roost in Napa Valley, California. "The little imp" has turned 14, is going a little gray and is "a well-mannered lady now."

And tough, funny and stouthearted too _ beautifully captured in this accomplished journalist's words and the deceptively simple drawings of J.C. Suares. As dog books go, this is one to remember and share.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dog lover on September 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
what a pleasure to write about this book which i have now given as a gift to friends-- this is not a children's book but more so about people, cultures, relationships -- zelda is the conduit to learning about ourselves and others
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Fred the Farmer on October 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a delightful read! Zelda captured my heart and carried me from Delhi to Paris to Napa. Seeing the world with her as my companion was a delight. This is a well written book that captures the reader from the first chapter to the last. I miss her already.
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