Join author Susan Conley on her virtual tour for Paris Was the Place, presented by France Book Tours from October 28 – November 6, 2013. Please leave a comment or question for Susan to let her know you stopped by. I’m giving away my gently used, looks like new, hardcover copy of Paris Was the Place to a randomly chosen commenter. Please be sure to leave your email address with your comment. The winner will be chosen on Wednesday, November 6th at the end of the tour. You can follow the rest of the tour here.
Paris Was the PlaceBy Susan ConleyPublisher: KnopfRelease Date: August 6, 2013ISBN: 978-0-307-59407-5Genre: Literary FictionLength : 368 PagesAdd to Goodreads
About the Book:With her new novel, Paris Was the Place (Knopf, 2013), Susan Conley offers a beautiful meditation on how much it matters to belong: to a family, to a country, to any one place, and how this belonging can mean the difference in our survival. Novelist Richard Russo calls Paris Was the Place, “by turns achingly beautiful and brutally unjust, as vividly rendered as its characters, whose joys and struggles we embrace as our own.”When Willie Pears begins teaching at a center for immigrant girls in Paris all hoping for French asylum, the lines between teaching and mothering quickly begin to blur. Willie has fled to Paris to create a new family, and she soon falls for Macon, a passionate French lawyer. Gita, a young girl at the detention center, becomes determined to escape her circumstances, no matter the cost. And just as Willie is faced with a decision that could have dire consequences for Macon and the future of the center, her brother is taken with a serious, as-yet-unnamed illness.The writer Ayelet Waldman calls Paris Was the Place “a gorgeous love story and a wise, intimate journal of dislocation that examines how far we’ll go for the people we love most.” Named on the Indie Next List for August 2013 and on the Slate Summer Reading List, this is a story that reaffirms the ties that bind us to one another.
Susan Conley is a writer and teacher. Her memoir, The Foremost Good Fortune (Knopf 2011), chronicles her family’s experiences in modern China as well as her journey through breast cancer. The Oprah Magazine listed it as a Top Ten Pick, Slate Magazine chose it as "Book of the Week," and The Washington Post called it "a beautiful book about China and cancer and how to be an authentic, courageous human being." Excerpts from the memoir have been published in The New York Times Magazine and The Daily Beast.
Susan’s writing has also appeared in The Paris Review, The Harvard Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Gettysburg Review, The North American Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. A native of Maine, she earned her B.A. from Middlebury College and her M.F.A. in creative writing from San Diego State University. After teaching poetry and literature at Emerson College in Boston, Susan returned to Portland, where she co-founded and served as executive director of The Telling Room, a nonprofit creative writing center. She currently teaches at The Telling Room and at the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA Program.
My ReviewParis Was the Place by Susan Conley is a contemporary featuring an American heroine trying to discover her place in life in a foreign country. Written in first person narrative, we meet Willow “Willie” Pears, a young woman who feels the need to connect with family after her mother’s death. Following Luke, her older brother, and Sara, her best friend from college, to Paris, gives Willie the opportunity to not only get to know herself, it gives her a chance to spend time with the ones she loves. Fortunate in obtaining employment, Willie soon finds herself talked into teaching English at a center for illegal immigrant girls seeking French asylum. Something which becomes a turning point in Willie’s life.Ms. Conley does an excellent job developing Willie’s character. As she begins to work with the young immigrant girls, she finds herself reminiscing about her childhood and family experiences. She also finds her emotions blurring the lines between being someone’s teacher and becoming someone’s emotional surrogate mother. Drawn to the girls by the horrors they’ve endured, Willie wants to help them all fight for the right to live in a more safe and optimistic environment.Complicating Willie’s involvement with the girls, she soon becomes romantically involved with Macon Ventri, the young girls French immigration lawyer. While both Willie and Macon want to be able to help the girls remain in Paris, they don’t always agree about how things should be done and the author highlights their differences. Macon comes across as more experienced and worldly, while Willie’s clearly more naïve and occasionally foolish.Will Willie and Macon’s relationship survive and grow in spite of the danger Willie puts them in? Will Luke’s illness finally force Willie to make peace with the one parent left in their lives? You’ll have to read Paris Was The Place to find out. While a little bit long, and a little slow paced, it is a very interesting story.My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Crowns
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Don't forget to leave a comment or question for Susan to let her know you stopped by. I’m giving away my gently used, looks like new, hardcover copy of Paris Was the Place to a randomly chosen commenter. Please be sure to leave your email address with your comment. The winner will be chosen on Wednesday, November 6th at the end of the tour. You can follow the rest of the tour here.