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Perestroika in Paris: A novel Kindle Edition
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“Sprightly, fun . . . A lighthearted spree of a novel . . . Here Smiley stretches her talents even further.” —Washington Post
“Wholesomely timeless, full of good intentions and happy endings that feel far removed from the problems of the moment.” —Wall Street Journal
“A cozy, fairy-tale trot through the City of Light . . . Delightful, heartwarming . . . An appealing balm for harsh times . . . It’s such a joy when an author whose work you’ve been reading for decades surprises you with something unexpected . . . An especially welcome reminder of the bright spots even in dark times.” —NPR.org
“In an era beset by polarization and even violent tribalism, it feels like a gift to find a novel in which characters of different species—with different desires and instincts—come together to build a community.” —Los Angeles Times
“After writing some of the most brilliant and ferocious fiction of the past 40 years, Jane Smiley takes a gentler approach in Perestroika in Paris . . . Her tone may be genial, but she’s as tough-minded as ever . . . Underpinning the novel’s abundant humor is a pervasive atmosphere of loneliness and longing for companionship felt by humans and animals alike.” —Boston Globe
“A beautifully done story . . . An absolutely extraordinary tribute to Paris.” —NPR’s Weekend Edition
“An immersive fable . . . Beguiling . . . A comforting read at the end of a difficult year—a winter’s tale full of wit, warmth, and charm.” —The Economist
“A remarkable novel that splits the difference between Charlotte’s Web and Animal Farm . . . Perestroika in Paris takes its place alongside the likes of Through the Looking-Glass, in that it will reward both precocious young readers and their parents with a sense of wonder and whimsy.” —BookPage (starred)
“This is the perfect book for those for whom the real world, wracked with pandemic and politics, has become something to avoid.” —Publishers Weekly
“The life-affirming grownup fable we all need right about now . . . It might just be the perfect antidote for 2020 . . . Jane Smiley has created a world where kindness is king, and that’s exactly where I want to be.” —Washington Independent Review of Books
- ASIN : B085BSX65Y
- Publisher : Knopf (December 1, 2020)
- Publication date : December 1, 2020
- Language: : English
- File size : 5167 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 248 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #7,358 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This isn't an allegory or a fable, like Aesop, Animal Farm, or Watership Down. It isn't a story told from the perspective of a horse as a way to reflect on human behavior, like Black Beauty or Tolstoy's Strider. It also isn't a tale of a child's special bond with horse or dog, like Lassie, Black Stallion, or Old Yeller.
Rather this is a fun story for the sake of story. The characters happen to be animals and their personalities are built on the typical behavior and the physical capabilities and limitations of their species. But they come alive and grow and interact with one another as unique individuals.
Hop on the back of Paras, the race horse, and enjoy a midnight ride around the Champs de Mars, with the lights of the Eiffel Tower in the background. Sit behind Etienne the eight-year-old boy. Raoul the raven will settle on your shoulder. Kurt the rat will hold onto the horse's mane. Frida the dog will run alongside. The night is young, and you can be as well.
While this book is probably targeted to middle schoolers, an advanced third grader might do well with it. I also think that adults will enjoy it.
Usually humans are the main characters in Smiley's realistic novels. Perestroika (Paras), a curious thoroughbred filly, is the protagonist here. Frida is an elegant old street dog, with wisdom and grace like Almondine in Edward Sawtelle.
A lively group of talking animals support each other in their almost-secret home in a Paris park. They share adventures, and we learn their wisdom about humans and nature - often hilarious. Raoul, an erudite and pedantic old raven, for example, explains that Christmas is a mating ritual time for humans, and as they are at their most wasteful, it's a wonderful time for street animals to find food.
The animals gradually make a family with young Etienne, who invites Paras and Frida to winter in his great grandmother's place. When she passes, they help him make his way to his future, and to a new human family.
This may sound sappy, but it is especially delightful in the dark winter of 2020-2021. I did not expect a children's story with talking animals, but more dense and deep adult literature from Jane Smiley. I was not disappointed, and she is on the top of my reading list again.
story. I was so wrong. The title compelled me to read just a little bit, and then I was hooked.
Yes, the main characters are a horse, a dog, a raven, some ducks and a boy, and they communicate with each other (all but the boy),
but the author makes it so obvious, so right, and never silly. Who's to say they don't? The humans in the story don't talk with the animals,
and that lends more credit to the plot.
So, Perestroika is the name of a young racehorse who strolls out of her stall after the door is left open, and her adventure begins.
The beauty of the story IS communication between all the characters, whether they talk or not. Between the animals, between the animals and
the humans, and between the boy and his great-grandmother.
There's adventure, suspense, caring, survival, and love. The author's writing is very understanding on so many levels - on animal behavior, especially horses,
on human relationships, and on how the world works.
This is the first novel of Jane Smiley's that I've read, and now I want to read them all!