cover image Paris by the Book

Paris by the Book

Liam Callanan. Dutton, $26 (368p) ISBN 978-1-101-98627-1

In the sublime third novel from Callanan (The Cloud Atlas), a Wisconsin woman travels to Paris in search of her missing husband. Leah Eady’s author husband, Robert, frequently disappears for a few days to write, and Leah is understanding, but lately, she feels like a single mother to their two daughters, Ellie and Daphne. When Robert fails to return one day, Leah doesn’t panic, but after she discovers that Robert purchased a ticket to Paris, she decides to take her girls there, hoping he’ll be there waiting for them. Once there, it’s not long before they’re living above—and eventually running— a failing bookstore called the Late Edition for the eccentric Madame Brouillard. Leah’s wryly funny narration jumps between her early days as an aspiring filmmaker with the troubled Robert and her time in Paris, where she imagines seeing Robert everywhere and eventually makes a shocking discovery. Callanan has crafted a beautifully-drawn portrait of a woman interrupted set among the exquisite magic of Paris, where life frequently imitates art and the ghosts of the past linger just out of sight. The mystery of Robert’s fate keeps the pages turning, but the real story lies in Leah’s rediscovery of herself. Book lovers and Paris aficionados will be enthralled. (Apr.)