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A Letter from Paris: a true story of hidden art, lost romance, and family reclaimed Kindle Edition
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When Louisa Deasey receives a message from a French woman called Coralie, who has found a cachet of letters in an attic, written by Louisa's father, neither woman can imagine the events it will set in motion.
The letters, dated 1949, detail a passionate affair between Louisa's father, Denison, and Coralie's grandmother, Michelle, in post-war London. They spark Louisa to find out more about her father, who died when she was six. From the seemingly simple question 'Who was Denison Deasey?' follows a trail of discovery that leads Louisa to the libraries of Melbourne and the streets of London, to the cafes and restaurants of Paris and a poet's villa in the south of France. From her father's secret service in World War II to his relationships with some of the most famous bohemian artists in post-war Europe, Louisa unearths a portrait of a fascinating man, both at the epicenter and the mercy of the social and political currents of his time.
A Letter from Paris is about the stories we tell ourselves, and the secrets the past can uncover. A compelling tale of inheritance and creativity, loss and reunion, it shows the power of the written word to cross the bridges of time.
"A beautiful true story, engagingly told. So much joy and kindness between the covers."-- "Natasha Lester, USA Today bestselling author" --This text refers to the mp3_cd edition.
About the Author
Louisa Deasey has published widely, including work in Overland, Vogue, The Australian, and The Age. Her first memoir, Love and Other U-Turns, was nominated for the Nita B. Kibble Award for women writers.--This text refers to the mp3_cd edition.
- ASIN : B07FN5GBL7
- Publisher : Scribe (September 3, 2018)
- Publication date : September 3, 2018
- Language : English
- File size : 584 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 284 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,377,263 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- #492 in Romance Fiction Writing Reference
- #2,108 in Travel (Kindle Store)
- #2,173 in Travel Writing
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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I found it hard to follow the book. As the chapters go on Louisa is in London, or Paris, or exploring box after box of her dad's letters in the Australian library archives. We never learn why these boxes are stored at the library, and what seems to be a chronological set of events starting with the arrival of the letter is hard to pull out of chapters that jump around in location and time.
A Letter from Paris is part genealogical research, but more generalized family history (Deasey does not go back much further than her grandparents), but more than that, a long reflective essay about what it is like to get to know one's father long after he has gone. Louisa Deasey is a freelance writer, but with the publication of this book, she may have found a new calling as a travel writer. A Letter from Paris intrigues the reader as one wants to know more about Denison Deasey, but, at the same time, it pulls the reader in with its descriptions of travel, particularly Paris and Saint Clair in France. Deasey has wonderful, heartfelt descriptions of not only what she sees and experiences in these places, but also of the deep connections she makes with people.
The author spends hours in libraries in Australia that now own her father's papers. It seems unfair that she needs to ask permission to see what rightfully should be hers. The library has strict rules about photocopying and photographing which means that, for the most part, unless she cheats, Deasey has to make endless notes of her father's writings using a tiny, preschool-sized pencil. As she sits all day in what sounds like a dark room with boxes and boxes of notebooks and manuscripts and letters, she begins to know and understand her father. Denison Deasey is a real character in the book: readers will identify with him and want to learn more. He lived a creative life, always a bit on the edge - the edge of success, the edge of poverty, the edge of creativity fulfilled. This makes him extremely interesting to read about. His daughter thinks so, too, and she sets about trying to understand where he succeeded and where he failed, and she sees much of herself in him. There is a strong familial identity which, of course, is only natural considering that the reading of his papers is about the closest she can get to him.
When Louisa was little, she received letters from France all the time from her Godmother, Gisele. Oddly - or maybe not so - Gisele was the French woman Denison married, only to leave her for Louisa's mother with whom he had three children late in life. Gisele, another fascinating character, was a liberal thinking Frenchwoman who allowed Denison to marry the Australian woman, and she continued to be in touch with her former husband and became interested and involved in the lives of his children through the mails between France and Australia. Obviously, Louisa's upbringing was different from that of other children, and it might have been even more different if her father hadn't died when he did. Evidently Louisa's mother was compelled to sell Denison's papers to the libraries so that she could keep a roof over the heads of herself and her children.
A Letter from Paris doesn't answer all our questions, of course. There is the mysterious Michelle whose letters start off the book, but her relationship with Denison is murky. There are all of Denison's writings - many of which we read about, but are not allowed to read, probably because they are owned by libraries that will not give permission. This is not to say that Louisa herself is not interesting, but there is something in this book that gives us the feeling that the next literary undertaking of hers should be a real biography of her father. On her own, she is - as already mentioned - a great travel writer - and we hope to go on many more trips with her in the future.
Top reviews from other countries
I heard Louisa on ABC Conversations last year, and was compelled to read her book. It is an incredibly well written and researched memoir which brought me to tears on several occasions.