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It's Not Love, It's Just Paris Paperback – August 19, 2014
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*Starred Review* Engel’s debut novel tells a familiar story, that of the intensity of first love and its almost certain abatement. Lita Del Cielo, the daughter of two orphaned, now wealthy Columbians, settles in at the House of Stars in Paris for a year of study abroad. The tragic and fabulous Countess Séraphine rents out rooms in her charming, crumbling home to a brood of wealthy, lineage-rich girls for whom the residence serves as an ornate backdrop to their séjour. Through this new estrogen-drenched lifestyle of nonchalant studies and laissez-faire relationships, Lita meets Cato, and her study of international relations suddenly takes on new meaning. Complicating their young love is Cato’s sometimes debilitating illness and his father, a xenophobic right-wing politician. It’s a classic case of star-crossed lovers. Yet Engel’s remarkable, razor-sharp prose transforms this banal situation into a wholly unique and tender conflict. Her evocative descriptions authenticate the couple and their emotions, preserving the delicate balance between innocence and rebellion. As Lita struggles with acceptance abroad, familial obligations, and the concept of home, she is forced to make her hardest decision to date. A compassionate read that honors all that should be treasured about those intense first experiences. --Katharine Fronk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"'We'll always have Paris,' lovers of this glorious city have been saying this to each other ever since Humphrey Bogart uttered those words in Casablanca. We rediscover a modern and eclectic Paris in Patricia Engel's astonishing first novel, a story as grand and dazzling as its setting, yet as intimate and powerful as a love story that just won’t quit." Edwidge Danticat
Wise and accomplished...Beautifully written and executed...There are at least two ways to judge a novel: by how fast you turn the pages or by how many times you have to stop to underline a passage. My copy of It's Not Love, It's Just Paris is all marked up. Engel, whose first book was the acclaimed story collection Vida, has uncanny insight into the human condition. Through Lita, she speaks a profound language of young love and desire...Engel’s considerable gifts are on display here.”Benjamin Saenz, The New York Times Book Review
Wondrous . . . Everything about the relationship the conversations, the plans, the increasing dependency is believable, including the roadblocks. You will find yourself consumed in the ebb and flow of Lita and Cato, nodding in understanding and remembrance as they struggle to find their footing. Try to read Paris” while there is still some length to the day. When you finish, you can arise from the sand or the lounge chair and still observe the sunlit world around you. You will be able to resume your normal life, ignore the ache in your throat and suppress the memories of everything you have loved and lost.”Alice Short, Los Angeles Times
"Spare prose laced with nuggets of genuine wisdom...it is a testament to [Engel's] large talent that the story culminates with an emotional force that is both surprising and deeply affecting."Thomas Chatterton Williams, San Francisco Chronicle
Absorbing intimate in scope, erotic and, by the end, entirely unexpected . Engel she has an eye for detail. She knows how to drown the reader in a sense of enchantment She writes exquisite moments The power of this excellent novel is in how Engel holds us in her thrall as she complicates where Lita is going and what she will leave behind. The heart this story breaks, might be your own."Roxanne Gay, The Nation
Like any word whose shimmer has dulled from overuse, Paris can seem like a cliché in itself. . . But early on Patricia Engel shows that her writing can still be original. . . . [Engel’s] fresh language leads us right into the middle of yet another love story in Paris, and a star-crossed one to boot. But by the time you get there, you may already be hooked and feeling weepy for these two young lovers.” Susannah Meadows, The New York Times
Distills the essence of the immigrant experience. [Articulates] that trying to start a life in a strange land is an artistic feat of the highest order, one that ranks with (or perhaps above) our greatest cultural achievements.”Joe Fassler, The Atlantic
Irresistibly engaging . . . Refreshingly nostalgic. Even the silences between Engel’s characters are filled with intimate meaning . . . [The] plot line, tipping over the ugly rock of xenophobia, balances Engel’s City of Light travelogue with a welcome darkness . . . Engel [has a] gift for vivid and telling detail.”Ben Crandell, The Sun-Sentinel
"A post-American Dream tale."Jose Manuel Simian, New York Daily News
"Engel approaches her love affair without florid prose or salacious encounters. Instead, she installs her shy, serious protagonist, Lita del Cielo, in a Parisian boarding house . . . lets her slowly fall for the quiet son of an infamous politician, and pits her new life abroad against her old one at home in the U.S. It's heady and cool approach brings real substance to the summer fling while making it an antidote to the usual seasonal fluff."Time Out New York (Summer Reads List)
"Has an appealing fairy tale quality . . . Engel has a knack for showing how Paris’s charms are both real and always verging on cliche."Publishers Weekly
"As a coming-of-age novel, It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris might sound as if its theme is rather well-trod, but the title puts you on notice. This is no saccharine tale of awakening. Rather, it’s a clear-eyed recasting of a classic storyline executed with confidence and just enough city-of-lights magic by Miami author Patricia Engel to conjure up something that manages to be familiar and new. This is a novel to get lost in." Amy Driscoll, Miami Herald
The number one reason you need to read this novel is to experience Engel’s writing. It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris is wry, melancholy, enchanting, seductive, and downright delectable. I savored every single page.” BookRiot
Remarkable, razor-sharp. . . . A compassionate read.” Booklist (starred review)
Unpredictable and touching . . . Warm, quirky and intelligently observed. A bonus is [Engel's] wonderful evocation of Paris if you haven’t been lucky enough to spend a year learning to love that glorious city (or if you have and want a vivid reminder), this bright and charming novel is the next best thing to a visit.” Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times
Lots of readers have wanted to know what Engel would write after her arresting debut, Vida, a PEN/Hemingway finalist. And here it is, an enticingly written work.”Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
Vibrant. Enchanting. Sensual. Engel continues to be a refreshing voice in literature. Patricia’s prose is seductive; her narrative evocative. She does a great job of bringing her characters to life and making us care about them, cheer for them, cry with them. This is a great book.”Latina Book Club
The perfect page turner to end your summer.”Latina Magazine
This story is not only for those who have been to Paris, but also for those who have ever felt like outcasts and hoped for a haven. The writing is honest, the characters real, and the ending not-so-predictable. For anyone who has ever been to Paris or has ever suffered in love, It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris is about finding a home away from home, finding yourself, and finding amongst all the distractions of obligation where your true passions reside.” The Thursday Review
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Like Vida, "It's Not Love, it's Just Paris, leaves you pondering life. One theme that resonates with me is the ever present compromises we all have to make in life between what we would ideally like to do and what we feel we have to do. Lita, like Sabina in Vida, feels that constant tension between her loyalties toward her family and the life she would like to pursue with Cato, her new love.
It's Not Love, It's Just Paris is definitely a book you would want to own so that you can go back to it and re read the beautifully written passages and relive the moments.
This was a very enjoyable read about relationships. I've not been to Paris, but have friends who have been and I can imagine how easy it wouild be to fall in love there. I fell in love at the lakes of the Midwest when I was younger. It's easy to do when you're away from home and looking for love. It just seems that the passion never seems to follow you home. It remains where you found it...albeit briefly.. I have a favorite line that I quote often. "Don't regret that it's over. Be happy that it happened.Yum