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I am a writer and dreamer, currently working on blogs and a book series.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

“Paris was the Place” Book Review



*This post contains spoilers



I enjoy listening to TED talks. I find them informative and the speakers captivate my attention by using a creative way to deliver their speeches. One such TED talk was "The power of story" by the writer/poet Susan Conley.




A few days after listening to Conley’s talk, I was checking out the “Bargain Books” section at Indigo and picked up a book that had an interesting title: Paris was the Place. It was only after reading the story’s description on the book’s jacket that I decided to buy it. Then my eyes caught the author’s name and I laughed at the coincidence. I always search for books by certain authors; never have the books found me.
 
 "Paris was the Place" is full of life.  It's 1989 and the protagonist, Willow Pears, teaches poetry at an academy as well as at an immigration center for girls.  She becomes involved in one of the girls' lives at the center which leads to the question of where the line is drawn when it comes to being a teacher.  At the center, Willow encounters the girl's lawyer, Macon, and they quickly begin a relationship without knowing much about each other.  Meanwhile, Willow is constantly anxious about her brother's wavering health.

“Paris was the Place” is an engaging story that I think fellow writers and poets will enjoy. The narrator has a great way of juxtaposing Paris’s beauty and magic beside the worry and unfairness of reality. I consider this book an excellent reflection of life itself. Willie talks about how bright the sun is after something bad has happened in her life, which is something that I have done.  I found that I could relate to her and her way of thinking.

Since I haven't traveled to many places, I always enjoy a book that describes other cities.  Conley's descriptions were my favorite part of the book: "The train station shadows long banks of dove-gray apartment buildings with wrought-iron balconies and cafés with scalloped awnings. The rain's stopped but not before it froze on the icy sidewalks, and the wind has only picked up. Dark limbs of chestnut tees rock back and forth up near the highest apartments.  And this is a different Paris than even this afternoon. The city changes faces" (Chapter 2, paragraph1). 

Although ‘Paris’ is in the book’s title, a surprising amount of India shows up in the story. Several girls at the immigration center are from India; one of Willow's friends is from India; the food they eat at times is Indian and Willow even goes to India to gather research for a book. Again, I enjoy coincidences; I'm going to be taking an English Literature class focusing on South Asia.
   
I like Conley's writing style and will definitely look for more of her work.



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