It's Not Love, It's Just Paris by Patricia Engel

73%

12 Critic Reviews

Engel’s considerable gifts are on display here. Her language is careful and precise, and though her pacing is slow at first, there is method to her madness.
-NY Times

Synopsis

Patricia Engel’s collection of stories, Vida, quickly established her as one of our country’s best young writers, winning praise from Junot Díaz, Uzodinma Iweala, Francisco Goldman, and others. Her first novel is a vibrant and wistful narrative about an American girl abroad in Paris, who navigates the intoxicating and treacherous complexities of independence, friendship, and romance.

Lita del Cielo, the daughter of two Colombian orphans who arrived in America with nothing and made a fortune with their Latin food empire, has been granted one year to pursue her studies in Paris before returning to work in the family business. She moves into a gently crumbling Left Bank mansion known as “The House of Stars,” where a spirited but bedridden Countess Séraphine rents out rooms to young women visiting Paris to work, study, and, unofficially, to find love.

Cautious and guarded, Lita keeps a cool distance from the other girls, who seem at once boldly adult and impulsively naïve, who both intimidate and fascinate her. Then Lita meets Cato, and the contours of her world shift. Charming, enigmatic, and weak with illness, Cato is the son of a notorious right-wing politician. As Cato and Lita retreat to their own world, they soon find it difficult to keep the outside world from closing in on theirs. Ultimately Lita must decide whether to stay in France with Cato or return home to fulfill her immigrant family’s dreams for her future.

It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris is a spellbinding love story, a portrait of a Paris caught between old world grandeur and the international greenblood elite, and an exploration of one woman’s journey to distinguish honesty from artifice and lay claim to her own life.
 

About Patricia Engel

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Patricia Engel's debut, Vida, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Fiction Award, Young Lions Fiction Award, winner of a Florida Book Award and Independent Publisher Book Award, and named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Barnes & Noble, and L.A. Weekly. Her award-winning fiction has appeared in A Public Space, The Atlantic, Boston Review, Guernica, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. Born to Colombian parents and raised in New Jersey, she is a graduate of New York University and earned her MFA at Florida International University. Patricia lives in Miami. patriciaengel.com
 
Published August 6, 2013 by Grove Press. 272 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for It's Not Love, It's Just Paris
All: 12 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 4

Kirkus

Above average
on May 30 2013

They break up for a while then reunite. Eventually, Lita must return home. But they will always have Paris. There’s a sense of déjà vu to this sensitive but self-consciously doomy paean to first love.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Benjamin Saenz on Sep 13 2013

Engel’s considerable gifts are on display here. Her language is careful and precise, and though her pacing is slow at first, there is method to her madness.

Read Full Review of It's Not Love, It's Just Paris | See more reviews from NY Times

Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Apr 01 2013

Despite (or perhaps because of) these difficulties, they fall in love. The problem is that it’s never fully clear why.

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NY Journal of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Ariel Balter on Aug 06 2013

The novel is engaging and nicely written but also heavily formulaic and one-dimensional...Ms. Engel adds modern twists...but the clichés still abound.

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LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Alice Short on Aug 30 2013

A good read will captivate at any time...When you finish, you can arise from the sand or the lounge chair and still observe the sunlit world around you...You will be able to resume your normal life, ignore the ache in your throat and suppress the memories of everything you have loved and lost.

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Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Deborah Dundas on Dec 30 2013

Engel is exploring the age-old question of whether love is destined or chosen...Or, is it more complicated than that? Is love one thing, reality another? There are no clear answers.

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Tampa Bay Times

Good
Reviewed by Colette Bancroft on Jul 31 2013

In It's Not Love, It's Just Paris, her characters are just as warm, quirky and intelligently observed. A bonus is her wonderful evocation of Paris...

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Time Out New York

Good
on Jul 29 2013

A young writer with a great story collection under her belt (Vida), Engel approaches the literary love affair without florid prose or salacious encounters.

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Just a Lil' Lost...

Good
on Apr 22 2013

...the story is lovingly developed and beautifully told. Set against the backdrop of a beautiful city in an eclectic household, It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris is a contemporary romance of star-crossed lovers and what is expected of them by their families.

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Beth Kephart's Books

Good
Reviewed by Beth Kephart on Jun 10 2013

This is a book filled with incomparable sentences, a book so international in its aura, so mysterious in its trajectory, so veiled and so specific at once.

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The Savvy Reader

Excellent
Reviewed by Suman on Aug 23 2013

There are a lot of reasons to praise this book. Patricia Engel’s writing is extraordinary and the Parisian setting is absolutely breathtaking. The main characters, as well as the supporting cast of young ladies, are incredibly relatable...

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BooksAreTheNewBlack

Good
Reviewed by natalieeramm on Jul 26 2013

Lita and Cato’s love affair is a tumultuous ride. Engel beautifully captures the pain and emptiness and the longing that comes from losing someone you love.

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Reader Rating for It's Not Love, It's Just Paris
81%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 63 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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