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3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on 6 February 2016
Boo. I hate writing negative reviews but this book was just not worthy of a good one.

Failing Paris is the story of Sabine Wilcox – a young girl from America studying in France. So far, so good, except that is where the concept gets a little lost and muddied. The story takes place over a few days and is about how Sabine tries to fix a problem that she has encountered.

Great a story set in France with a clear conflict – a great start…except that it just it. There is nothing to make the story plausible or even readable. It just merges into one big confusing blur that doesn’t evoke sympathy or emotion.

Maybe I am being too harsh. Towards the end, the burgeoning relationship between Sabine and Abe does elicit some interest from the reader but it is too short a part of Failing Paris to be actively interested in.

Overall, Failing Paris failed as entertainment.

Failing Paris by Samantha Dunn is available now.
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on 20 December 2012
The story of Paris for one american exchange student from a damaged upbringing, in which she moves through the city like a long breaking mood. Elements of alienation, lust, longing for belonging and acute pain infuse the evocative narrative. The clumsiness and the absences of growing up, the abuses and the near misses. If all our books were divided into a few rough piles this would be in there with Nausea-Sartre and Catcher in the rye. A polished and emotion provoking book.
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on 3 September 2014
An unusual book, written in an unusual style with a strange, fractured, visceral theme. The first person narrator never addresses the complexities of her past and present in a straightforward way; the impression is of an individual detached from any motivation to truly control her life, but in a painfully passive way allowing the desires of others to dictate her behaviour. It's as if she's yielded to the negative forces of human nature, and lacks the insights and strengths to redeem herself. All her encounters are discoloured by the weirdness or implausibility of the men with whom she has brief, humiliating, degrading, experiences, with the exception of the one man whose attributes could be those of the hero of a Romantic novella and who, given her description of herself, would seem unlikely to show any interest in her.

The one 'string' holding the work together is the intelligent analysis of the steps taken towards the acquisition of a foreign language by a determined autodidact. The narrator is subsuming herself in French; willing herself to think in French and, on occasion, performing so well that she is taken to be French.

I do recommend this book. There are some 'yucky' moments and an atmosphere of bemused misery but the story--if there can be said to be one--does linger in the mind.
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VINE VOICEon 29 December 2014
An interestingly morose glimpse into the life of Sabine, a francophile who finds the experience of living in Paris quite apart from her hopes.

The book itself is dark and moody. Sabine is a mysterious character and we are afforded only flashes of her experiences, left to make our own ciphers to understand her journey. If you like the moody prose of Holden Caulfield, this is a good book to digest.
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on 3 September 2014
I have to be honest....I started it and read several pages but found it hard going with nothing to keep my interest. Closed it and started a different book - Summers Child - which I am enjoying ....may come back to Falling Paris and give it another try later!
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on 23 November 2014
Nothing to love about the protagonist, and I almost gave up half way through, but my perseverance was rewarded with a hard-edged but insightful story about displacement, longing and otherness.
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on 5 October 2014
Novel concept was an unusual take on the issues raised but the execution could have been sharper. At times it read as if the author had been given a word limit that she had to reach
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on 19 August 2014
Not remotely interesting, difficult to engage with the protagonist. Pointless piece of fiction, self indulgent, even the description of Paris poor.
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on 6 October 2014
I can relate to this book having been a lost traveller coming to grips with the French language, and she writes beautifully.
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on 22 August 2014
Recommended. My daughter read this in a couple of days and quickly proceeded to purchase the two follow-up books.
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