In the City
Here are 3 new novels where the city in which the action takes place is practically one of the characters:
The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell As a child, Genevieve Martin spent a wonderful summer in Paris at her uncle’s locksmith shop, recovering from her mother’s death. While falling in love with the city, she also learned tricks of the locksmith trade. Now, grown up and on the verge of divorce, Genevieve returns to Paris after her uncle’s death. While she enjoys spending her time in the city she never stopped loving, and begins to work through her uncle’s life in locks and keys, she uncovers mysteries about her family that will change everything she thought she knew.
Odysseus abroad by Amit Chaudhuri A 22-year-old homesick Indian literature student and aspiring poet wakes in his shabby London studio, practices his singing, meets his university tutor, delivers his rent, and visits his uncle Radhesh, with whom he shares an afternoon tea, a sweet shop foray, and a restaurant dinner before ambling home. The novel’s pages, of course, contain much more: a single July 1985 London day (think Margaret Thatcher, hum “Karma Chameleon”) in the life of an artistic wannabe reveals multiple lives within that single day, expanding from the quotidian to universal explorations of identity, sexuality, colonialism, immigration, politics, and more.
The suicide of Claire Bishop by Carmiel Banasky In 1959 New York’s Greenwich Village, Claire Bishop, young and pretty but a willful, heavy-drinking fabulator who married Freddie to escape what felt like a doomed life, is sitting for a portrait he has commissioned for her birthday. She’s drawn out by the artist, Nicolette, who then paints a shocking portrait of Claire’s broken-bodied suicide. In 2004, the earnest, schizophrenic West sees the portrait of a woman’s suicide that he’s convinced has been painted by a woman named -Nicolette with whom he’s been trying to connect. But given the time difference, how can that be?
Compiled by Ina Rimpau