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The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen
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The House in Paris (1935)

by Elizabeth Bowen

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Eleven year old Henrietta, quite precocious for her age, has recently lost her mother. She's being escorted by various acquaintances of her family to the south of France to live with her grandmother. It's been arranged for her to stay with a friend of her mother's in Paris for a day while waiting for the next leg of the journey. She hope to see a few sights during her layover.

Instead, she finds an elderly autocratic dying woman, her devoted spinster daughter and a boy named Leopold who is also spending the day at the house waiting.

Leopold has never met his mother. He knows only that the circumstances of his birth are mysterious and that he has been adopted by a couple in Italy. His birth mother has summoned him to Paris to meet her, and to Leopold this is a dream come true.

Events unfold with a long middle section flashback where we discover the story of Leopold and then to a final section where Leopold's story continues.

The writing is lush. The characters are intricately drawn and well realized. I thought the ending was superb. It's one of those that leaves you wondering: Is this a happy ending? What happened next? ( )
1 vote streamsong | Feb 7, 2017 |
Henrietta (age 11) and Leopold (age 9) meet in the Paris home of Naomi Fisher. Henrietta is passing through on the way to her grandmother's in the south of France, and Naomi is providing a place for her to spend the time between trains. Leopold has arrived in Paris to meet his mother for the first time.

Hmm ... what's that? This premise pulled me in right away. And if that weren't enough, there's something a bit mysterious about Naomi and her elderly, bedridden mother. Suddenly the narrative shifts from the present to the past and the back story takes shape. To say more might spoil this novel for other readers, so let's just say that after about 150 pages the narrative jumps back to the present, providing a fresh point of view on all of the characters. But the central conflict still remains, and Bowen guides us to a conclusion that is very satisfying despite ending on somewhat of a cliffhanger. ( )
2 vote lauralkeet | Jan 29, 2017 |
Dešava mi se da knjige koje me ostave „bez teksta“ nisu neke popularne visoko ocijenjene knjige koje čita jako mnogo ljudi na našim prostorima. Na čudne načine dolazim do tih knjiga, ili one dolaze do mene?? Ovu knjigu sam odabrala jer sam željela čitati na engleskom (britanskom mada je spisateljica Irkinja), bez previše slenga (ja ipak nisam studirala engleski), nezahtjevno i ne previše moderno i bez previše stranica. I na svojoj TBR listi, koja je ogromna (želje veće od mogućnosti) sam odabrala ovu knjigu i pronašla dragulj.
Predivan roman s mnogo fascinatnih likova. Djelo satkano od tajni, bola, strasti, razočarenja, izdaje i ljubavi. Ono što me fascinira je to što se o osjećajima ne piše ali oni izbijaju iz svake riječi, iz svakog opisa kuće, prirode, sveprisutni su. Knjiga počinje i završava u kući u Parizu koju sam doživjela mračnom, bez zraka, klaustrofobičnom. Ta kuća je ustvari pozornica na kojoj glavne uloge imaju stanovnice te kuće gospođa Fisher, diktator koji vuče konce, i gospođica Fisher jako pasivna osoba.
Jezik kojim je pisano je posebna priča. Uživala sam u svakoj riječi kao što gurman uživa u svom omiljenom jelu i podsjetila sam se kakvo je to zadovoljstvo čitati sporo i pažljivo a bez razmišljanja što će se desiti na kraju knjige. Uživanje u riječima radi riječi.
( )
  Dinci | Aug 16, 2016 |
Dešava mi se da knjige koje me ostave „bez teksta“ nisu neke popularne visoko ocijenjene knjige koje čita jako mnogo ljudi na našim prostorima. Na čudne načine dolazim do tih knjiga, ili one dolaze do mene?? Ovu knjigu sam odabrala jer sam željela čitati na engleskom (britanskom mada je spisateljica Irkinja), bez previše slenga (ja ipak nisam studirala engleski), nezahtjevno i ne previše moderno i bez previše stranica. I na svojoj TBR listi, koja je ogromna (želje veće od mogućnosti) sam odabrala ovu knjigu i pronašla dragulj.
Predivan roman s mnogo fascinatnih likova. Djelo satkano od tajni, bola, strasti, razočarenja, izdaje i ljubavi. Ono što me fascinira je to što se o osjećajima ne piše ali oni izbijaju iz svake riječi, iz svakog opisa kuće, prirode, sveprisutni su. Knjiga počinje i završava u kući u Parizu koju sam doživjela mračnom, bez zraka, klaustrofobičnom. Ta kuća je ustvari pozornica na kojoj glavne uloge imaju stanovnice te kuće gospođa Fisher, diktator koji vuče konce, i gospođica Fisher jako pasivna osoba.
Jezik kojim je pisano je posebna priča. Uživala sam u svakoj riječi kao što gurman uživa u svom omiljenom jelu i podsjetila sam se kakvo je to zadovoljstvo čitati sporo i pažljivo a bez razmišljanja što će se desiti na kraju knjige. Uživanje u riječima radi riječi.
( )
  Dinci | Aug 16, 2016 |
I was warned that Bowen would be too starchy for my taste, but this story, which takes place in two time periods linked by the titular house in Paris, is surprisingly gripping. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Jul 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bowen, Elizabethprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Byatt, A. S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruschmeier, SigridÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In a taxi skidding away from the Gare du Nord, one dark greasy February morning before the shutters were down, Henrietta sat beside Miss Fisher.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385721250, Paperback)

When eleven-year-old Henrietta arrives at the Fishers’ well-appointed house in Paris, she is prepared to spend her day between trains looked after by an old friend of her grandmother’s. Henrietta longs to see a few sights in the foreign city; little does she know what fascinating secrets the Fisher house itself contains.
For Henrietta finds that her visit coincides with that of Leopold, an intense child who has come to Paris to be introduced to the mother he has never known. In the course of a single day, the relations between Leopold, Henrietta’s agitated hostess Naomi Fisher, Leopold’s mysterious mother, his dead father, and the dying matriarch in bed upstairs, come to light slowly and tantalizingly. And when Henrietta leaves the house that evening, it is in possession of the kind of grave knowledge usually reserved only for adults. One of Elizabeth Bowen’s most artful and psychologically acute novels, The House in Paris is a timeless masterpiece of nuance and atmosphere, and represents the very best of Bowen’s celebrated oeuvre.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:04 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When eleven-year-old Henrietta arrives at the Fishers' well-appointed house in Paris, she is prepared to spend her day between trains looked after by an old friend of her grandmother's. Henrietta longs to see a few sights in the foreign city; little does she know what fascinating secrets the Fisher house itself contains. For Henrietta finds that her visit coincides with that of Leopold, an intense child who has come to Paris to be introduced to the mother he has never known. In the course of a single day, the relations between Leopold, Henrietta's agitated hostess Naomi Fisher, Leopold's mysterious mother, his dead father, and the dying matriarch in bed upstairs, come to light slowly and tantalizingly. And when Henrietta leaves the house that evening, it is in possession of the kind of grave knowledge usually reserved only for adults.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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