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13, rue Thérèse: A Novel by Elena Mauli…
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13, rue Thérèse: A Novel (edition 2011)

by Elena Mauli Shapiro

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2823257,289 (3.16)25
Member:laytonwoman3rd
Title:13, rue Thérèse: A Novel
Authors:Elena Mauli Shapiro
Info:Reagan Arthur Books (2011), Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, Boxed
Rating:**1/2
Tags:fiction, Belle review, first edition, boxed

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13, rue Thérèse by Elena Mauli Shapiro

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» See also 25 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
A very different telling of the story of a woman's life. Based on actual letters, photos and other items the authors mother saved from a deceased neighbour's apartment, the author has a young American living in Paris delve into her story. A very creative method of storytelling that morphs as the novel progresses. Cannot say more without spoiler alerts! ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
A young American translator settles in to his new office in a University in Paris. He finds a box of mementos, letters and personal items of WWI vintage apparently left behind by a predecessor, and becomes intrigued by what they all mean. As he goes through the box, he invents a life story for the woman who saved all these things. Then, there is a modern "romantic twist". I generally do not appreciate books built on such models. The framework is too obvious, the author too present. The whole thing feels like an exercise based on a professor's prompt. Such is the case once more with this novel. The physical book is quite lovely, and there is a clever tie-in with a website, but as a novel, it just does not work for me. However, if you enjoyed [People of the Book], or [The Geographer's Library], or even [Sarah's Key], then you're likely to appreciate this one more than I did.
Review written June 2012 ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Oct 5, 2017 |
Different and intriguing, ( )
  Alphawoman | Jun 11, 2016 |
This is going to be a review in which I damn a book with faint praise. For starters, the synopsis makes this seem like a much more simplistic story than it is. Then again, perhaps I read the book incorrectly. Yes, it is a story about Trevor Stratton going through this mysterious box of artifacts, flashbacks to Louise Brunet’s life, and his growing interesting in Josianne. However, what I got from the story was a muddled story that bordered on magical realism as the lines between imagination and reality blur. There is talk of a fever, which would indicate hallucinations. Then again, it could all be just a dream. The whole thing is very confusing.

Not helping the situation is the fact that the entire novel is present tense all while jumping from time period to time period and narrator to narrator. This makes it extremely difficult to follow who, what, where, and when as the story progresses. The nature of the story is quite choppy, told in vignettes that begin with the introduction of each artifact. Just as you get used to a narrator and his or her story, you jump to a different narrator in a different time and place. The lack of continuity makes this jumbled little story that much more obscure. Adding to the mess are the footnotes, which provide translations of French sentences and other key reveals in the story. They are less footnotes than asides and essentially require you to jump back and forth between them. The only problem is that these footnotes are not at the bottom of the page but at the end of the story. There is nothing worse than having to jump a few dozen pages or more just to find out what is happening.

What I do like is the clever incorporation of the artifacts. There are images of every one of them, and they all look authentic. It is easy to imagine Ms. Shapiro taking her own box of letters, pictures, and other objects and using them to shape the story as she was writing it, for she is careful to include not just a picture of each but also adds a bit of commentary through Trevor about each one. The pictures of these items around which the entire story revolves is actually more interesting than the story itself. This is because they show you a true humanizing image of life in France during and after the Great War.

13, rue Thérèse is a cute novel, which is really my polite way of saying that I did not hate it. Honestly, I continue to struggle to understand what was happening most of the time for me to truly enjoy it. What I am able to glean from the story is not enough to make me want to puzzle out the rest. I just do not care enough to take the time to do so. I do love the artifacts and could have spent the same amount of time as I did reading the book just looking at their images. However, a quick glance at Goodreads makes me think this is an example of the wrong book at the wrong time. I was coming off of a decent book high when I selected 13, rue Thérèse, and this quiet story could not compete with that. When all is said and done, I am glad I can take this off my TBR pile and that I finally got around to reading it. I do not hate it, but neither is it a novel I will recommend to others.
  jmchshannon | Mar 18, 2016 |
13 rue Thérèse by Elena Mauli Shapiro is the story of a man brought into study a box of mementos collected through both world wars. The man in turn imagines a the life of the woman whose things are contained within. And that then leads him to a present day relationship with the very person who gave him the ephemera.

Oh this could have, should have been my kind of book. But the imagined life of Louise Brunet didn't work from the very get go. Her scenes are written in a very stilted homage to French literary greats like Emile Zola and Gustave Flaubert. Except our modern day author doesn't otherwise write in their styles. It's not a smooth transition from old and new styles of writing either. It's awkward, painful and oft times dull.

The book also includes color photographs of the things described. There's an associated website listed to see them in higher resolution, giving this book an unfortunate Scholastic Books mystery feel (39 Clues and more recently TombQuest). Sure, there's a social media aspect to reading now but it's just a natural evolution of the in person book clubs and other word of mouth ways people have shared their favorite books since the rise of the novel. ( )
  pussreboots | Sep 30, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
In this, it resembles the work of the great book artist Nick Bantock, whose "Griffin & Sabine" trilogy, complete with letters the reader could pull out and unfold, was a great success in the 1990s. "13 rue Thérèse" also includes embedded Q.R. (quick response) codes, which the reader can use, through the book's website, to enter the world of the novel — explore the house and the neighborhood on Google maps, listen to the music of Edith Piaf or Maurice Chevalier, and read recipes that enhance the full sensory experience of this love story.
 

When I think of works of fiction set in Paris, I immediately enter a mindset that is ruled by excessive imagination and visually concrete detail; I am reminded of Muriel Barbery’s “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “Le Petit Prince.” Also, Édith Piaf is singing somewhere in the background—as is the Eiffel Tower (my imagination tends to run loudly). Elena Mauli Shapiro's début novel, "13, Rue Thérèse," combines all these gush-worthy elements.....
I must admit that I enjoy the idea of a novel’s intention being evolved through its pages as well as an interactive Web site; the entire process has an elegant weather of its own. One might call it a visual rendering through language, culture, and sensible surprises. I call it a brilliant and tactile method of marketing.

 
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Josianne's gift is a simple square box, its sides about as long as her forearm.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316083283, Hardcover)

American academic Trevor Stratton discovers a box full of artifacts from World War I as he settles into his new office in Paris. The pictures, letters, and objects in the box relate to the life of Louise Brunet, a feisty, charming Frenchwoman who lived through both World Wars.

As Trevor examines and documents the relics the box offers up, he begins to imagine the story of Louise Brunet's life: her love for a cousin who died in the war, her marriage to a man who works for her father, and her attraction to a neighbor in her building at 13 rue Thérèse. The more time he spends with the objects though, the truer his imaginings of Louise's life become, and the more he notices another alluring Frenchwoman: Josianne, his clerk, who planted the box in his office in the first place, and with whom he finds he is falling in love.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:56 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

American academic Trevor Stratton discovers a box full of artifacts from World War I as he settles into his new office in Paris. The pictures, letters, and objects in the box relate to the life of Louise Brunet, a feisty, charming Frenchwoman who lived through both World Wars. As Trevor examines and documents the relics the box offers up, he begins to imagine the story of Louise Brunet's life: her love for a cousin who died in the war, her marriage to a man who works for her father, and her attraction to a neighbor in her building at 13 Rue Therese. The more time he spends with the objects though, the truer his imaginings of Louise's life become, and the more he notices another alluring Frenchwoman: Josianne, his clerk, who planted the box in his office in the first place, and with whom he finds he is falling in love.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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