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13 Rue Thérèse [Paperback]

Elena Mauli Shapiro
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

1 Sep 2011

An American in Paris falls in love with two women, one of whom he can only only imagine, in this wonderful debut.

As he settles into his new office in Paris, American academic Trevor Stratton discovers a box full of century-old artifacts.  The pictures, letters and objects in the box relate to the life of Louise Brunet, a Frenchwoman who lived through both World Wars.

Trevor begins to piece together the story of Louise'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 neighbour in her building at 13 rue Therese.  As he becomes enamored with the charming, feisty Louise of his imagination, he notices another alluring Frenchwoman, his clerk Josianne, who planted the mysterious box in his office, and with whom he decides he is falling in love.


Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (1 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075537424X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755374243
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 541,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Delectably artful . . . a flirty, dirty tease of a novel . . . hot, jabbing and naughty, with a tight grip on the senses' (Simon Schama)

'Highly entertaining ... Extraordinarily sensual' ( New York Times Book Review )

'Captivating ... Sizzling sexual tension' ( San Francisco Chronicle )

'13 RUE THERESE is a puzzle-novel and gave me the same fizzy satisfaction as completing a Sunday crossword. It will light up your brain and your heart' (David Ebershoff, author of The Nineteenth Wife)

'A charming literary conceit . . . the fiction equivalent of Edmund de Waal's The Hare With the Amber Eyes' ( Daily Mail )

'A magical Amelie style love story - êêêêê' ( Red )

Book Description

A magical and wonderfully inventive story about passion - and Paris.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly Surprised 16 Feb 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If a book can take you through a process of discovery, Ms Shapiro's '13 rue Thérèse' comes as close as any I have read. Fluid in its form, lucid in its conception, tender in its spirit, this book says much about its author's feelings for the past and its resonance in the present. With the instincts (and imagination) of a good historian, Elena Mauli Shapiro takes us through Trevor Stratton's discovery of the relics of a past life, the life of Louise Brunet. The long dead Louise's artefacts lie in a tin which is deliberately placed by the enigmatic Josianne in Trevor's room. This is not the first time Josianne has left the tin for a man to find. We are invited to open the tin.

As Trevor grows ever more engrossed in Louise's life he grows more and more feverish. In his fevered state, time begins to slip and he is seen by the living of the earlier generation sitting in the corner of Louise's dying brother's bedroom. Louise is a young woman of irrepressibly irreverent humour. She teases a celibate priest with erotic confessions, she laughs at the idea of falsely drawing men out in order to deflate their authority, she transgresses in order to make her existence bearable to herself. Louise reaches a crisis in her life at which point the slippery nature of time brings her face to face with Trevor.

As the artefacts around which this book is based are real and remain in the possession of the author, the book contains images of the letters, photographs and other items which the fictional Trevor Stratton sifts through. Ms Shapiro is, therefore, exposing throughout her narrative the veracity of her own tale, the possibility that she (or Trevor, who keeps notes on his find) is a falsifier. She is questioning the nature of history and exploring the power of empathetic imagination of which she possess a great deal.

I loved this book. It is thought provoking, pleasantly erotic, hugely imaginative and unusual in its construction.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Did not live up to expectations 29 Mar 2011
By Kate VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is a bit of an odd mix, some bits I liked, others not so much. It starts with a box of letters, photographs and other mementos belonging to a woman called Louise Brunet who lived in Paris in the first part of the twentieth century. The box is being investigated by an American professor visiting Paris in the present day, so you have a story within a story. He weaves a tale around the objects in the box to create the life of the woman who owned it.
I liked this idea but at the start the story jiggled about between present and past in no particular order which I found confusing. The timeline did settle down after a while and some structure to Louise's life began to emerge. But after a while the professor drifted away from the clues given in the box and Louise's life became totally fictional and at times a bit bizarre. There was some blurring of time between past and present as the professor seemed to merge with the characters he was writing about. Sometimes even adding alternative actions to the story and introducing fictional documents that were labelled 'not in the record' which seemed to defeat the object of the exercise of using the box in the first place. I felt that there were too many ideas running through the book so it didn't really know which way to go. I quite liked the character of Louise even though her behaviour at times was a bit odd and if the book had stuck to her story all the way through I would have enjoyed it more.
I did wonder what the real owner of the box would have made of her fictional counterpart.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Starts off intriguing then gets very...odd 15 May 2011
By Read Me
Format:Hardcover
This starts off as many an academic romance; Trevor Stratton discovers a box of artefacts including photographs, letters, gloves and coins and begins to imagine or piece together the story of their owner Louise Brunet. So far so fine, the box however has been placed there for him by another woman Josianne who has apparently used this method of seduction on academic men before (charming). What follows is a decent enough novel telling Louise's story through the items that are included in the book, love letters to her childhood sweetheart, postcards from her father in WWI, photographs of her husband and calling cards that may or may not have gone unused. All of these things provide Trevor with tantalising glimpses of Louise's life and he, as expected, becomes obsessed with her. Josianne's seductive plootings are very much sidelined in his devotion to Louise.

However for me the problem is towards the end of the novel, Trevor becomes ill and it could easily be seen that he is losing his grip on reality. Is he filling in the blanks of Louise's life too much? Imagining her reactions, her affairs, her personality and even travelling through time to interact with her himself? Problematically this is a familiar plot from the novel/film 'Somewhere in Time' and whereas that works well as it is a time travelling romance, in '13 Rue Therese' it instead just seems like a complete breakdown in plot. What frustrates me most about this book is that the simplified notion of recovering a person's life from the items they leave behind (if well written) would have been enough. The undeveloped love interest with Josianne, the hint of incest, the bungling time travel all distract from what could have been an excellent novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Totally stupid 4 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback
This sounded like an interesting concept using items that came into the author's possession and basing a story around them. How wrong I was. The story was total rubbish and in the end I couldn't care less what happened to the main character. It was pure sentimental drivel with no purpose and just totally naff I gave up and took it to the charity shop for someone who might actually enjoy it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Intiguing, then confusing then just weird
This could have been a clever, memorable and unique book. But it just wasn't.
It began well, became very confusing and concluded with truly weird. Read more
Published on 16 Mar 2012 by L. Day
4.0 out of 5 stars A little bit different...
A small box filled with the keepsakes of a past life is the premise for this beautifully narrated book which is based on the author's own interpretation of a discovered box of... Read more
Published on 24 Oct 2011 by jaffareadstoo
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and intriguing
This is such an unusual and intriguing read. I know it has had some poor reviews, but I had a feeling I would like it and I did. Read more
Published on 8 Aug 2011 by Nicola
4.0 out of 5 stars An imaginative story
Having read a great review of this book on a blog and then it appearing in my Amazon Vine list, I decided to snap it up and give it a go. Read more
Published on 24 April 2011 by Nikki-ann
4.0 out of 5 stars Confusing at first, but settles into a thoughtful read
Trevor Stratton finds a peculiar box in his office one day; naturally, he can hardly resist opening it, though he has no idea where it has come from. Read more
Published on 20 April 2011 by M. K. Burton
4.0 out of 5 stars Spare me the time travel
If I want a fantasy novel, I'll get one that says so on the cover. And I don't. Or if I did, I'd want it to be firmly grounded in fantasy, not just slightly bonkers. Read more
Published on 18 April 2011 by Mrs. R.
3.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it
This is an odd book. The way it's written, the different narrators - the fact that it is a made up story based around some real artifacts - it is a great idea and I enjoyed it. Read more
Published on 7 April 2011 by Laura Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story exquisitely written, with odd features
13 Rue Therese is a peculiar mix of several different things and will appeal to some readers more than others. Read more
Published on 6 April 2011 by Hfffoman
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe trying a bit too hard?
I was taken with the description of this novel and I really wanted to like it, and certainly I enjoyed the first half, with the puzzle of the box and its contents (and the added... Read more
Published on 22 Mar 2011 by Penny Waugh
3.0 out of 5 stars An unusual read
I enjoyed reading about Louise and her life in Paris. I felt her sadness at losing her beloved cousin and brother in WW1. Read more
Published on 17 Mar 2011 by bookworm
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