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Capturing Paris: A Novel Paperback – May 2, 2006

3.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

akThe outwardly enviable and inwardly decrepit Parisian life of ex-pats Annie and Wesley Reed is disrupted by a mysterious, sultry stranger in Davis's debut novel. After meeting Daphne Walker at a dinner party, Annie, at Daphne's urging, pursues her poetry and lands a project writing poems to accompany photographs of Paris. As her poetry career takes off, her relationship with Wesley becomes more disaffected. Dreamy and sentimental, readers with a soft spot for the city of lights will want to give this a look.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Back Cover

After twenty five years of marriage, Annie and Wesley are living the type of elegant, sophisticated life in Paris that many Americans dream about. Their apartment in the Marais district is filled with wonderful food, accomplished friends, and good wine. All of this changes when Wesley loses his job and an attractive, magnetic woman enters their lives. Suddenly the sights, smells and sounds of Paris are cast in a different light, and may never be the same.

"In Capturing Paris, we meet Annie Reed, poet and wife, navigating through a year of upheaval. Through it all, her adopted city of Paris glows, with its abundance of charm, quirks, and moods, all beautifully captured in Katharine Davis's sensitive observations."
--Leslie Pietrzyk, author of Pears on a Willow Tree and A Year and a Day,

"In this graceful and atmospheric first novel, Katharine Davis explores a question that fascinates us all: what if I had chosen differently, when I still had my choices to make? Through Annie's reinvention of herself in a time of flux, we see anew the consequences of deciding to be who we are, and the consequences of questioning all that we have been".
--Carolyn Parkhurst, author of The Dogs of Babel

Born in Summit, New Jersey, KATHARINE DAVIS grew up in Europe. For the last thirty years, she has lived in Washington, DC where she has worked at the National Gallery of Art, taught French, written a cooking column for The York Weekly, and raised two children. This is her first novel.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (May 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312340982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312340988
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,792,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Margaret Woods on May 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
Here is a book to swallow whole. For years I've missed the rich novels of Laurie Colwin but in Katharine Davis I may have found the next master of domestic detail. Her fine novel, Capturing Paris,not only tells a deeply moving story of a marriage thrown off balance by a complicated new acquaintance, but it also brings Paris to life. Taste the pastry at a sidewalk cafe, sit at a table set for an intimate dinner party, walk the paths of a wild country garden,wash the freshest mussels from Brittany at an old stone sink. In Davis' capable hands, the reader falls into a world where life's important moments happen around the dinner table: wine, cheese, flowers, a perfectly roasted chicken, chocolate mousse, and a congenial coversation that barely covers the undercurrent of lust and betrayal.
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Format: Paperback
With the painterly hand of an Impressionist master, Ms. Davis artfully renders the ravishing images, scents, and sounds of the City of Light in the accomplished manner of a seasoned novelist (this is, surprisingly, Ms. Davis' first full-length work of fiction). An acute observer of emotional nuance, Ms. Davis convincingly unspools her seductive narrative of personal relationships - relationships fragile, intricate, and enduring - within the alluring contours of glamorous Paris and environs. I shall spare our gentle readers another summary and instead leave you with a warning: Danger. Reading Capturing Paris will likely trigger an irresistable urge to visit the City of Light. In fact, I'm already packing!!! Bon Voyage.
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As a confirmed Francophile, I'm always on the look out for both fiction and non-fiction books about Paris.

This one did not disappoint! For once, a realistic main character. Not one with the stiletto heels, high power job, looking for Mr. Right while romping in every bed available.

Davis's prose was smooth and enjoyable. Her characters and plot were believable and she wrapped up the ending in a timely fashion that left the reader satisfied.

I look forward to more novels from this author.
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Format: Paperback
Davis knows and loves Paris and her words--whether describing an individual, a meal, a room, a park, or a photograph--get it right. It's a sensuous book. She has an eye, ear, and nose for details that bring the story alive, make it all believable, and engage the reader. And she knows the kinds of people and situations she's writing about. We connect with our own memories of Paris, our own experiences of relationships, of change, of self-discovery. It's a hard book to pull away from.
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This is the best novel I've read in quite awhile.I didn't give it the extra star only because it was a bit slow-moving. I really felt like I was in Paris. Having never been there, I don't know if the descriptions were accurate, but I got the feel of Paris life. Some said the plot was predictable--well, maybe so, but you didn't know quite how it was going to go until near the end. I liked the main character, Annie, and was rooting for her the whole book. It was enjoyable and I looked forward to getting back to it to see what would happen next. I would read any new novels by this author. I enjoyed her style of writing and thought she did a good job of character development for the most part. One character, Daphne, was a bit weird, but then I guess she was supposed to be. I would recommend this book.
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This is an almost perfectly told tale of middle-aged marital ennui set against a backdrop of American upper-middle-class angst in the world of contemporary expatriate Paris. The characters are all exquisitely drawn archetypes except for Daphne, the amourouse errant who is so strikingly different and whose presence is easily seen as a discordant note. Her entrance into the other characters' lives sends these lives off onto new trajectories.

One can imagine a spicier ending, of the heroine making a more daring choice. But then this would become a novel about middle-age breakup. But I think this is a beautiful novel about a couple finding themselves again, the coming together as the foundations of the relationship reassert themselves. Possibly this dimension could have been made more poignant, more dramatic--but it does have a high degree of verisimilitude. If you like Paris, you will like this novel.
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The descriptions of the food, the weather, the streets of Paris, and the countryside are all very nice, but there's nothing to sink your teeth into. The story is itself is meh and the characters are forgettable, but not bad if this is in fact Ms. Davis' first novel. I just personally didn't like her writing style and felt the story was slow to unfold and boring. I would recommend reading Paris Letters if you want to read a novel with witty and interesting writing to go along with the descriptions of Paris.
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As the title suggests, it does in fact capture Paris. The author is so detailed with everything the city has to offer you almost forget that there's a story. The story itself is one that I've read many times before but the way she [the author] incorporates Paris into everything the character does gives it a new and interesting twist. This book was a very good read and I enjoyed it very much. The ending was just right in a bitter sweet way.
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