A new month and time for a new prompt. Oh, I wish I really was in Paris. It must have been wishful thinking when I decided on Paris in April for this month's reading prompt theme. Surely any book set in Paris will be an enjoyable read, right? My stack of choices seems to grow each month, too. Last month I managed to read two books for my prompt, I wonder if I can make it three this time around? But if I only finish one, that's okay, too.
I want to read at least one book that is translated from French, but otherwise any book with a Paris setting, even if it is written in English is fine. I have already started my first selection, which sits at the top of the pile, Hélène Grémillon's The Confidant. This is her first novel, which has been translated into more than twenty languages. The English translation is from 2012. It is a dual narrative set in mid-1970s Paris and pre-War France. It is a letter that initially ties the parallel plots together. It is both a historical novel and a thriller which the NYT called 'riveting'! Almost fifty pages in and I am finding it very engaging indeed.
Next in line is Elena Mauli Shapiro's 13 rue Thérèse, which is a gorgeous book in its own right. Creamy pages, slightly oversize with color and sepia-toned pictures illustrating the text. I have owned this for ages and should have read it long ago. So, now is its moment. Although Shapiro was born and raised in Paris, the book is written in English, and I believe the Paris apartment where she lived was the inspiration for this novel. The premise is a man living in a Paris apartment finds a box full of WWI artifacts that belonged to a woman living there through both World Wars. One blurb calls this a 'puzzle novel' and I think the protagonist pieces together/imagines her life. It is going to be my second choice and hopefully one I will get to.
I'm also hoping to squeeze in a Georges Simenon/Maigret novel. I've found two with Paris settings in my reading pile. The first is The Carter of La Providence--"a well-dressed woman has been found strangled in a stable near a canal. Why did her glamorous, hedonistic life to such a brutal end here? Surely her aristocratic, taciturn husband knows--or maybe the answers lie with the crew of the barge La Providence?" The other is Night at the Crossroads--"On the outskirts of Paris, a sensational crime in an isolated neighborhood becomes the focus of Maigret's investigation. But the strange behavior of an enigmatic Danish aristocrat and his reclusive sister prove to be even more troubling." Interesting how aristocrats abound in Maigret stories. Maigret novels are always slender, quick reads. Maybe I will start one sooner rather than later. And maybe I'll read them both.
As for the other books in the pile--who know--maybe one of them will grab me and I will pick up one of these instead: Mayhem by J. Robert Janes--the first in a series of WWII mysteries that features a French and a German detective working together. Agatha Christie's Death in the Clouds is a mystery set in an airplane--the flight goes from Paris to Croyden. American author Katherine Mosby's Twilight is set in the 1930s/WWII about the "political and sexual awakening" of a 'spinster'. And Pierre Lemaitre's Irène is the first in a trilogy of books featuring Commandant Camille Verhoeven. I read his first novel, Alex, which was pretty harrowing. I'm both compelled and a little afraid to pick up another book by Lemaitre . . . (but in the end I will eventually).
Do people who don't like to read have any idea what they are missing out on? The joy of choosing a new book (or two) to read-happy contented sigh. Not that I need more ideas or anything, but have you read any really good stories (or even short stories) set in Paris? (I am a book glutton and I'm afraid I cannot resist asking).