13, rue Thérèse: A Novel
By Elena Mauli Shapiro
- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books; 1 edition (February 2, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316083283
- ISBN-13: 978-0316083287
Description (From Good Reads)
Trevor Stratton is an American professor and translator, newly arrived at a Paris university. There, in his office, he discovers a box filled with letters, photographs, and antique objects—a beautiful pair of gloves, a rosary, a silk scarf. Whose life is preserved here? And who has left this mystery for him to find?
The artifacts tell the story of the box’s owner, Louise Brunet, who lived in Paris through both world wars. Trevor is captivated by her tale; her unruly love for a cousin who died in WWI, her comfortable marriage to a man who works for her father, and her passionate attraction to a neighbor in her building at 13, rue Thérèse. But the artifacts tell just a part of the story. Trevor almost deliriously envisions the rest, consumed by thoughts of Louise. Or is it Josianne, his alluring assistant, who rules his imagination?
Memory, passion, and the mysteries of time are entwined in this enthralling novel, a book that transports us not just to Paris but into the mysteries of the past. Elena Mauli Shapiro’s first novel is a masterly exploration, intimate and dramatic, of the stories we imagine about others’ lives and the truths those stories reveal about ourselves.
About the Author:
Elena Mauli Shapiro was born and raised in Paris, France, in an apartment below the real-life Louise Brunet’s. Shapiro found herself in possession of a box of Louise’s keepsakes after her neighbor died and no relatives arrived to claim them. These postcards, gloves, photographs, coins, letters, and other mementoes utterly captured her imagination. Shapiro has a BA in English and French from Stanford University, a master’s degree in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Davis, and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Mills College. Visit her website at elenamaulishapiro.com
This amazing first novel is certainly like no other I've read before! At times challenging, and yet always engaging, 13, rue Thérèse is a mesmerizing tale built upon a box of artifacts and ephemera strategically placed within the office of American Professor Trevor Stratton upon his arrival at the Paris University. Upon his discovery of this simple box, the reader is swept away by the life of Louise Brunet as Trevor begins to translate and piece together the meaning of the contents. But is this really Louise's life or Trevor's fantasies of her life? And what does this say to us about Trevor Stratton? The two seem to be intertwined and the reader is challenged to seperate the two. Filled with beautiful images throughout, this easily becomes a mystery to unfold! Shapiro's writng is absolutely elegant! Although this novel has a very French flavor to it, translations are provided making it easily readable. I loved this novel and find it one worth re-reading. Demanding of further discussion, this novel would make an excellent book group endeavor! Easily worthy of a Five star rating!