Mini-Review Madness: The European Edition

The mini-reviews continue today with a pair of books that took me across the Atlantic.

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13, rue Therese
Elena Mauli Shapiro


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An academic researcher in Paris finds a box of artifacts from the early 1900s. Through these objects, he imagines the life of Louise Brunet, who lost her first love in World War I, married another, and had affair with with a third man. Back in the present day, he falls for the woman who gave him the box.

This was a beautiful and adventurous novel. It was unconventional and, for that reason, a unique experience. I was not as enamored as some by the book’s quirkiness, and I thought the ending got a little strange, but overall I would say it is an experience worth having.


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Ian McEwan


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Clive and Vernon are friends despite (or because of) a shared lover, the recently deceased Molly. Clive is a successful composer. Vernon is the editor of a newspaper. After witnessing Molly’s demise, the friends make a pact that has dire consequences.

I did not like Amsterdam. I read it on my husband’s recommendation so there must be some merit here that I am missing. But I just thought it was strange. I am usually a fan of McEwan’s twist endings but this one seemed so ridiculously unlikely that I was almost laughing even though I could see it coming. If you want some good McEwan, stick with Atonement or On Chesil Beach.


2 thoughts on “Mini-Review Madness: The European Edition

  1. zibilee December 21, 2011 / 9:41 am

    Oh, I hated Amsterdam, and I count myself as a huge fan of McEwan. I also found the ending to be comical and ridiculous, but the other parts of the book also sort of disappointed me. It started out so interestingly, but then it all sort of fell inwards on itself. Very perceptive thoughts on it. I felt much the same.


  2. Cassandra December 21, 2011 / 4:27 pm

    I didn’t read Amsterdam. I mostly like 13 Rue Therese. It was a very interesting concept. I think I liked it more when I first read it. My love faded a bit as the year wore on, but I’d still recommend it to the right reader.


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