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Paris, Rue Des Martyrs
|Paris, Rue Des Martyrs
By Adria J. Cimino
Publisher: Agency Editions
Pub. Date: February 10, 2014
This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK
- Rafael Mendez, 23, from Colombia
- Cécile de Champigny, mother of two teenagers
- André Wren, member of the entertainment world
- Mira Galino, leaving her fiancé
What can possibly be the connection between these 4 people?
Following each one of them, one chapter at a time dedicated to each in turn, the reader gets to get acquainted with them and with one thing at least they have in common: la rue des Martyrs, in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris.
I enjoy this kind of whimsy literary device, and I am glad I followed my guts and trusted the synopsis enough to read the book. Paris, Rue Des Martyrs, in English despite its French title, is really a beautiful work of literary fiction.
I connected right away with each character, despite the diversity of their milieu: the emerald business in Bogotá, artists, painters, actors. It was actually quite amazing to see how the author managed to connect them all, for indeed you discover little by little they have a lot more in common.
Each character felt very real. The dialogues between them are very lively.
I enjoyed the interesting dynamics between all the characters, as they join, separate, and meet again, at a deeper level. besides, it was neat to grasp new details about each and their relationship, as new elements were little by little given as clues to the reader.
It was fun traveling with the characters, for if the story is mainly set in Paris, you will have to follow them to Colombia and Italy as well.
The book is also all about the quest of one’s identity, whether it be in relation with one’s past, with one’s family (who is my real mother, my real father?) or with one’s vocation: what am I to do really with my life? with my heart? with my talents?
I don’t want to give away any spoilers, just know there are also elements of mystery, of family drama, and romance.
The ambiance of Paris and of that street was very well recreated, and
My only problem with this book is, why on earth isn’t it better known?
VERDICT: if you like literary fiction, you should definitely listen to this new voice. Adria J. Cimino presents us a very artfully designed novel, with four characters who will remain with you for a long time. Paris, Rue Des Martyrs is a beautiful invitation to pay more attention to encounters in your everyday life.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT
There are encounters that make a difference. The paths of four strangers cross amid the beauty, squalor, animation and desolation found on a Parisian street called the Rue des Martyrs.
Each one faces some sort of struggle:
A young man’s search for his birth mother leads him to love and grim family secrets.
An unsatisfied housewife finds her world turned upside down by the promise of a passionate liaison.
An aging actor, troubled by the arrival of the son he abandoned years ago, must make a choice: either lose him forever or put aside pride and seek redemption.
A young woman, betrayed by her fiancé, travels to Paris to begin a new life and forget about love… at least that is her intention.
Four stories entwine, four quests become one. [provided by the author]
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adria J. Cimino worked as a journalist for more than a decade at news organizations
including the Associated Press and Bloomberg News.
Adria, who grew up in the sunshine, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida.
She now lives in Paris
and enjoys sharing her adventures in the city and thoughts about the writing life in her blog “Adria in Paris.”
Her first novel, “Paris, Rue Res Martyrs,” is set for release on Feb. 10, 2014.
INTERVIEW WITH ADRIA J. CIMINO
1. In your novel, there’s a great interaction between Colombia, Italy, and France. Why did you choose these three countries? Have you been to all three?
I’ve never been to Colombia, but I had a very specific reason for choosing it. Several years ago, I read an article about Colombian emerald brokers and found it fascinating… The character of Rafael came to me before I even had a complete idea for the novel. When I started thinking about writing four stories in one, with four protagonists, I knew that one had to be Rafael. As for France, here we get to my inspiration for the novel itself. Living in Paris, seeing the same strangers silently crossing paths daily in the city’s neighborhoods, I started thinking about their individual stories… and what if they met? What if those encounters made an important difference in their lives? So it was clear to me that a Parisian neighborhood had to be the setting for this novel. As for Italy, it is a country I’ve been to and like very much. It rounded out my selection of international locations!
2. The world of artist is very prominent in your book, with painting, cinema, jewel designers. Why did you decide to give art such a central role in your book. Are you an artist yourself?
I’m an art lover and admire those who paint, design jewelry… I also love the performing arts. I find that I can vicariously experience life as a painter or dancer through my writing, through my characters.
3. As a writer, what connection do you see between these forms of art and the art of words?
There is a definite connection between these art forms and the art of words. In both cases, the artist/writer wants to stir up the audience’s emotions. To have that kind of result, the artist’s inspiration and passion for the art must show in every brush stroke, every dance step or every sentence. This difficult-to-describe element makes the difference between an ordinary and an extraordinary performance/book. I think it’s what every artist/writer aims for in his or her work.
4. As I was reading your novel where characters gravitate one way or another around rue des Martyrs, I kept thinking about some French authors focusing on a particular place as the common denominator of their characters. Georges Pérec’s La vie mode d’emploi is the most obvious example that comes to mind. Have you read this book? Did it influence you? What other books or authors inspire you to write Paris, Rue des Martyrs?
I started thinking about the impact of the city on people’s lives after reading Manhattan Transfer by Dos Passos. It’s one of my favorite novels, with its complexity and frenetic pace that mirrors the pace of city life. I didn’t have all of this in my mind when I developed the idea for Paris, Rue des Martyrs years later, but my desire to weave together several stories and write about city life might be a bit of a tribute to Dos Passos. I haven’t read Pérec’s work, but I will have to check it out!
5. Rue des Martyrs is indeed a street in Paris. Why did you choose this street?
For me, the Rue des Martyrs was the perfect choice because it has a neighborhood feel and a very diverse population. It’s small enough to run into your neighbor at the bakery, but also large enough to walk a bit farther along the street and lose yourself in the crowd. I wanted to give my characters a setting where they could logically meet, yet not feel hemmed in. And the diversity factor was important as well: My protagonists are each very different from one another, yet you could easily find any one of them in such a neighborhood.
6. Any out of the beaten path places you would recommend to a tourist going for the first time to Paris?
If the weather cooperates and you enjoy plants and flowers: The Buttes-Chaumont park (I call it our mini Central Park) and the Promenade Plantee (an elevated walkway of plants and trees built along old railroad tracks kind of like the High Line in New York – I have New York references for everything!).
If the weather doesn’t cooperate and you want to learn about the history of Paris: The Carnavalet museum is the place!
For more Paris history, the Arenes de Lutece is another good spot. The arena is among the only remains of the Gallo-Roman period visible today in Paris.
And finally, a must for booklovers: Stroll along the Seine and have a look at the “bouquinistes,” or booksellers right along the banks of the river. I don’t think a lot of first-time tourists take the time to do this, but it really is a fun experience!
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