Paris by the Book: Book summary and reviews of Paris by the Book by Liam Callanan

Paris by the Book

A Novel

by Liam Callanan

Paris by the Book by Liam Callanan X
Paris by the Book by Liam Callanan
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2018
    368 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A missing person, a grieving family, a curious clue: a half-finished manuscript set in Paris. Heading off in search of its author, a mother and her daughters find themselves in France, rescuing a failing bookstore and drawing closer to unexpected truths.

Once a week, I chase men who are not my husband. ...

When eccentric novelist Robert Eady abruptly vanishes, he leaves behind his wife, Leah, their daughters, and, hidden in an unexpected spot, plane tickets to Paris.

Hoping to uncover clues--and her husband--Leah sets off for France with her girls. Upon their arrival, she discovers an unfinished manuscript, one Robert had been writing without her knowledge ... and that he had set in Paris. The Eady women follow the path of the manuscript to a small, floundering English-language bookstore whose weary proprietor is eager to sell. The whole store? Today? Yes, but Leah's biggest surprise comes when she hears herself accepting the offer on the spot.

As the family settles into their new Parisian life, they can't help but trace the literary paths of some beloved Parisian classics, including Madeline and The Red Balloon, hoping more clues arise. But a series of startling discoveries forces Leah to consider that she may not be ready for what solving this mystery might do to her family--and the Paris she thought she knew.

At once haunting and charming, Paris by the Book follows one woman's journey as her story is being rewritten, exploring the power of family and the magic that hides within the pages of a book.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The mystery of Robert's fate keeps the pages turning, but the real story lies in Leah's rediscovery of herself. Book lovers and Paris aficionados will be enthralled." - Publishers Weekly

"Callanan has woven a tale of grief, resentment, and the everyday madness of equivocating the unfathomable. … Callanan's sweet and compulsively readable tale invites readers to fall in love with Paris, Leah, and her family." - Booklist

"While Callanan writes about the difficulties of family relationships and the creative process with a knowing hand, the magical Paris he creates feels forced and threadbare." - Kirkus Reviews

"Liam Callanan's Paris by the Book is much more than an elegiac portrait of an artist who has vanished. Here we witness the sacrifices and yearnings of the ones left behind as they continue to love, live, and flourish." - Min Jin Lee, National Book Award finalist author of Pachinko

"This charming and poignant novel made me fall in love with Paris and all things French. Oh, to own a bookstore in any arrondissement! Within this love story there are reflections on the mystery of writing, the solace of reading, the ties that bind and those that don't, plus the joy of The Red Balloon, to name but a few of the pleasures of Paris by the Book." - Jane Hamilton, author of The Excellent Lombards and A Map of the World

"I loved walking the streets of Marais with his eloquent narrator. And I loved how Callanan simultaneously reveals the history of her marriage and of her adopted city. Open a bottle of wine, open this wise and wonderful book, and enjoy." - Margot Livesey, author of Mercury and The Flight of Gemma Hardy

"A haunting literary mystery and a multifaceted love story of husbands gone missing, of daughters left behind, of starting over, of books, and finally, of Paris. I love, love this novel." - Caroline Leavitt, author of Cruel Beautiful World

"Liam Callanan's new novel is charming and full of fabled accordion music and wonderfully Márquezian magic--and best of all it's told by a narrator I came to love, whose funny,honest, wryly snarky voice drew me in from the first line." - Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will

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Author Information

Liam Callanan

Liam Callanan is a novelist, teacher and journalist, whose first novel, The Cloud Atlas, was a finalist for an Edgar Award. Winner of George W. Hunt, S.J., Prize for Excellence in Journalism, Arts and Letters, Liam has published in The Wall Street Journal, Slate, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The San Francisco Chronicle, and has recorded numerous essays for public radio. He's taught for the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and lives in Wisconsin with his wife and daughters.

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