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 andThe 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.
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.
In the sublime third novel from Callanan (The Cloud Atlas), a Wisconsin woman travels to Paris in search of her missing husband. Leah Eady's author husband, Robert, frequently disappears for a few days to write, and Leah is understanding, but lately, she feels like a single mother to their two daughters, Ellie and Daphne. When Robert fails to return one day, Leah doesn't panic, but after she discovers that Robert purchased a ticket to Paris, she decides to take her girls there, hoping he'll be there waiting for them. Once there, it's not long before they're living above--and eventually running-- a failing bookstore called the Late Edition for the eccentric Madame Brouillard. Leah's wryly funny narration jumps between her early days as an aspiring filmmaker with the troubled Robert and her time in Paris, where she imagines seeing Robert everywhere and eventually makes a shocking discovery. Callanan has crafted a beautifully-drawn portrait of a woman interrupted set among the exquisite magic of Paris, where life frequently imitates art and the ghosts of the past linger just out of sight. 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. (Apr.)
Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly
"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."
"In Paris by the Book, the marvelously gifted Liam Callanan tells a spellbinding story of reading and writing, romance and marriage, French frozen food and a small bookshop. 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 Marquezian 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
"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. Like James Salter's Light Years, Callanan depicts the once seemingly simple conditions of a young marriage and what it takes to let such conditions go."
--Min Jin Lee, National Book Award finalist author of Pachinko
Learn more about Liam Callanan at his website, here!