Paris Was the Place by Susan Conley

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There aren’t many surprises in Conley’s first novel...


“Sensual and seductive, Paris Was the Place pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. Find your nearest chair and start reading. With her poet's eye, Conley has woven a vivid, masterful tale of love and its costs.” —Lily King, author of Father of the Rain
When Willie Pears begins teaching at a center for immigrant girls who are all hoping for French asylum, she has no idea it will change her life. As she learns their stories, the lines between teaching and mothering quickly begin to blur. Willie has fled to Paris to create a new family for herself by reaching out to her beloved brother, Luke, and her straight-talking friend, Sara. She soon falls for Macon, a charming, passionate French lawyer, and her new family circle seems complete. But Gita, a young girl at the detention center, is determined to escape her circumstances, no matter the cost. And just as Willie is faced with a decision that could have potentially dire consequences for both her relationship with Macon and the future of the center, Luke is taken with a serious, as-yet-unnamed illness, forcing Willie to reconcile with her father and examine the lengths we will go to for the people we care the most about.

In Paris Was the Place, Conley has given us a beautiful portrait of on how much it matters to belong: to a family, to a country, to any one place, and how this belonging can mean the difference in our survival. This is a profoundly moving portrait of some of the most complicated and glorious aspects of the human existence: love and sex and parenthood and the extraordinary bonds of brothers and sisters. It is a story that reaffirms the ties that bind us to one another.

This ebook edition includes a reading group guide. 


About Susan Conley

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Susan Conley is the author of The Foremost Good Fortune, a book that won the Maine Literary Award for memoir and was a Goodreads Choice Award finalist. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. She's been awarded fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the Massachusetts Arts Council. She is the cofounder of The Telling Room, a creative-writing lab in Portland, Maine, where she lives with her husband and their two sons.

Author Residence: Portland, ME

Author Hometown: Burlington, VT
Published August 6, 2013 by Vintage. 370 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Paris Was the Place
All: 3 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 2

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Nancy Kline on Aug 30 2013

We travel through rich settings (India, France, the Sonoran desert) and are confronted with dramatic events, but the descriptions of the settings too ­often read like unshaped pages from a travel diary, and too many of the events are merely reported, not embodied.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on May 20 2013

...the heart of the book is the interlocking love stories, between Willie and the almost-to-good-to-be-true Macon, as well as between sister and brother, daughter and mother, and Willie and her asylum-seeking student.

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Above average
on Jun 23 2013

There aren’t many surprises in Conley’s first novel...

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