- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (May 6, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780307739872
- ISBN-13: 978-0307739872
- ASIN: 0307739872
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 98 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,012,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Paris Was the Place Paperback – May 6, 2014
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“A satisfying cassoulet of questions about home, comfort and love, served with a fresh perspective on a dazzling city.”
“Exquisite. . . . A story about hope, love, family, forgiveness, expectation, risk, loss, and letting go.”
—The Boston Globe, “Pick of the Week”
“Susan Conley’s Paris Was the Place has the kind of emotional weight you hope for in a novel. . . . Achingly beautiful.”
“Sensual and seductive, Paris Was the Place pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. Find your nearest chair and start reading.”
“Susan Conley's deft, moving novel is a beautiful love song, as much to Paris as to that tipping point in life when love and loss combine and perhaps, for the first time, both heartbroken and thrilled, you feel acutely what it means to be fully human and alive.”
—Sarah Blake, author of The Postmistress
“Reminds us that it is impossible to separate what is hideous from what is lovely in our everyday lives.”
—The Portland Phoenix
“Conley’s debut novel zips its readers to the Paris of the 1980s. . . . At its heart the story explores the ties between family and friends, but also delights around the edges with descriptions of a sky ‘flanged lilac,’ dove gray apartments buildings, cafes with awnings, and crepes with lemon and butter and sugar.”
“Paris Was the Place is a gorgeous love story and a wise, intimate journal of dislocation that examines how far we'll go for the people we love most. I couldn’t put it down.”
—Ayelet Waldman, author of Red Hook Road
“Much more than a love story. . . . The brief flashbacks are so vivid you would swear the author went through that primal experience.”
—The Stamford Advocate
“Deftly exploring the complexities of friendship, family, and commitment, Conley adroitly demonstrates her infectious passion for Paris through an extensive and intimate portrait of the inner workings concealed behind its seductive façade.”
“A suspenseful story, full of moral choices and deep feeling. Willow is an irresistible heroine.”
—Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy
“[Paris Was the Place] reminds us through the openheartedness of its compassion of the infinity of ways in which doing what we can for others might represent the best we can do in terms of saving ourselves.”
—Jim Shepard, author of You Think That’s Bad
“An affecting debut.”
“Smart and compulsively readable, Paris Was the Place is a bittersweet meditation on responsibility and family, and on the power of words to save us.”
—Maryanne O’Hara, author of Cascade
“Tenderhearted, earnest, and sincere.”
“A heartrending and deeply hopeful novel. . . . [Conley’s] immigrant girls are tenderly drawn, full of pathos. One feels a need get to close to them, to provide some comfort, to find some way to fix this broken system and this brutal world. Thankfully, Willie Pears—Conley’s big-hearted, clear-eyed narrator—is there.”
—Sarah Braunstein, author of The Sweet Relief of Missing Children
About the Author
Susan Conley is the author of The Foremost Good Fortune, a book that won the Maine Literary Award for memoir and was a Goodreads Choice Award finalist. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. She’s been awarded fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Massachusetts Arts Council. She teaches at the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast MFA writing program, and is the cofounder of The Telling Room, a creative-writing lab in Portland, Maine, where she lives with her husband and their two sons.
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At the beginning, I was sucked into the section about the main character's work with the immigrants at the detention centre. It was so promising!! I expected so much more with regards to the girls seeking asylum in France and the main character's relationship with these girls. That’s what I was really looking forward to.
Then the story line about the main character's brother takes over.
You get the impression that this is a case of two short stories that have been linked and that the author intended the immigrant story to be the main one but maybe changed her mind along the way, so that the story about her brother takes precedence. I was disappointed.
But it's not a bad story.
3.5 stars for this one.
It felt like a young adult book to me. I can't believe I'm saying this, but all of it was tedious to me.
I work with young, disadvantaged teenage girls so I was very sympathetic to the stories of the young women in the book - the abuse, the fear, the helplessness of being the victim of a system.
HIV and AIDS have played a major role in my life for the past thirty years, and even that felt hollow to me.
And Paris - well, I can't get enough of it. But I did. I didn't finish the book.
Actually, probably great for a younger audience. I would recommend it to my 18 year-old granddaughter.
The characters are well developed and we are drawn into their circle throughout the journey of reading this fine novel.
This is my best attempt at a rave review. Whats next Susan?. I can't wait. Anne