Sunday, January 10, 2010

Parisian things

Hey guys, Stephanie Perkins is in Paris. Lucky girl! I suppose it's not really luck, though. She made a plan and made it happen. But first . . . she wrote a book. Her first novel, coming this fall from Dutton, is set in Paris, and her third novel will be set there too, so this is a research trip. How wonderful are research trips to awesome places?

Five or six years ago Jim and I took a trip to Prague to research a graphic novel we were planning. Then, post-Prague, I realized the graphic novel was a "newt"* and what I should be working on was Blackbringer, which was half-finished at the time, so I got back to it and the graphic novel has still not manifested itself. But. But! The novel I am working on NOW happens to be set . . . in Prague! Mostly. There's this bit in Morocco, and I've never been to Morocco. Hm. I think another research trip is called for . . .

Let this be a lesson to you: set your books in exotic places, so you can go to them. [Tina Fey: "I want to go to there."]

Speaking of Paris, I recently read a wonderful novel set in Paris, by the French author Anna Gavalda. The English title is Hunting and Gathering (French title = Ensemble, c'est Tout) My friend Lori, who lives in Amsterdam, loaned it to me when she was stateside for the holidays, and I loved it. I may have to get my own copy -- she actually gave me a French copy, but my French is woeful (I set out to minor in French in college, but ended up dropping it), so I borrowed her British edition, but I like the US cover better. So. It's the story of a young Parisian artist, Camille, "exhausted from ennui and anorexia" (I know -- from that, it doesn't sound like my kind of book, but it was) who finds salvation in a strange makeshift family when she moves in with her eccentric downstairs neighbor, an aristocrat . . .

I'm not doing a good job of this. Here is the Publisher's Weekly blurb:
"Camille, a talented artist exhausted by ennui and anorexia, cleans offices at night and cowers in a shabby garret by day. Philibert, the fastidious scion of a titled family, peddles museum postcards while squatting in his dead grandmother's Parisian manse, waiting for her estate to be settled. Philibert's roommate, Franck, a talented (and womanizing) chef with ambition to burn, motorcycles once a week to look in on his stubborn, ailing grandmother Paulette, an "inmate" at a retirement home. . . "

Cut. The rest is spoilers. I see no need for that. Booklist says, "a winning portrait of a group of misfits who band together to form their own family." And that's what it is.

Oh. Yeah. And it was made into an Audrey Tautou movie. Will it be coming here, I wonder?


Anyway, getting back to the original inspiration for this post: Stephanie's Paris blog posts are awesome, most recently, where she ferrets out every single "hot man" inside the Louvre. Of the paint-on-canvas variety. Hint: there aren't very many. Men who got themselves immortalized in art? It wasn't for being pretty. So, go see Steph.

* "newt" - a New Weird Thing, that is, a writing project that is usurping the place of another writing project. Also known as a "slutty new idea". Newts are to be discouraged, despite their unfailing awesomeness.

14 comments:

Lori's Lens said...

Yay! So Glad you liked the book! I've already gotten another English copy of the book (the very one pictured in your blog!) which, I agree is much nicer than the British copy..

Can't wait to see the movie!

Lori

Laini Taylor said...

Hi you! But I was going to mail yours back! Is the movie not out yet? On IMDB it says it was made in 2007!

Lori's Lens said...

Pay it forward and give to someone you think might enjoy it...I just sent you a link to the DVD on amazon...and just ordered it locally here!

Myrna Foster said...

So I'm doing it all wrong. There's a story I want to write that would be set in Ireland (hundreds of years ago), and I've been putting it off because I want to visit Ireland first.

My in-laws are going to Prague next month for a year. I'm very excited for them and tempted to visit them while they're there.

I love the cover of that book.

Katie said...

I have been following Stephanie's tweets and blog with much interest! And the cover of that book is gorge! As in gorgeous! Is that sidewalk chalk on it?

Amber said...

Gawd, I forgot all about the "newt"! I wonder if I don't have several slutty new ideas distracting me form several other things I keep meaning to do... LOL
You are so funny.

And I can SO see you all in Morocco. The colros, woman!! I am pretty sure you should go to there.

:)

ann foxlee said...

The book does sound good, although all you had to say was they made it into a movie with Audrey Tatou... I'm a sucker for anything she does ;-)
When we went to Paris this fall, I kept stopping my husband and saying, OMG! take a picture right now-- they filmed a scene in Amelie here!!

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

Research trips to Paris are the best. I've been there twice and set one book there. Actually Paris seems to sneak into every book I write! Magical, beautiful Paris. xx

a cat of impossible colour said...

Hunting and Gathering is a favourite book of mine: one I re-read whenever I'm feeling blue. :) Glad you like it too!

Colleen said...

This book sounds fabulous - just like the sort to fall into while the wind howling about outside (as it is up here in WA). I laughed at this bit: "...peddles museum postcards while squatting in his dead grandmother's Parisian manse, waiting for her estate to be settled."

Of course he peddles postcards! Too funny - and so French for some reason. Yep, I want it too!

Thanks Laini!

Lucy said...

Hello from Paris! I'm just here for fun. Going back to Spain today. Bonjour!

maclibrary said...

Oh, how I want to go back to Paris. It has been 40 years! Sounds like a great book.

Stephanie Perkins said...

Oh, thank you so much!! I'm happy you're enjoying my adventures! I must confess, my friend — the BRAVE WORLD-TRAVELER LAINI — made it a lot easier for me to make the decision to actually *do* this. What an inspiration YOUR travels have been!

And I used to oogle that cover at the library, but I never picked it up. Silly me. It sounds fantastic!

Shelf Elf said...

I've read Hunting and Gathering and seen the film. LOVED both. Loved the film. You should try to get your hands on it. Audrey Tautou is perfect. If only I could be 1/2 that cute.