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13 rue Thérèse: 09/30/15
13 rue Thérèse by Elena Mauli Shapiro is the story of a man brought into study a box of mementos collected through both world wars. The man in turn imagines a the life of the woman whose things are contained within. And that then leads him to a present day relationship with the very person who gave him the ephemera.
Oh this could have, should have been my kind of book. But the imagined life of Louise Brunet didn't work from the very get go. Her scenes are written in a very stilted homage to French literary greats like Emile Zola and Gustave Flaubert. Except our modern day author doesn't otherwise write in their styles. It's not a smooth transition from old and new styles of writing either. It's awkward, painful and oft times dull.
The book also includes color photographs of the things described. There's an associated website listed to see them in higher resolution, giving this book an unfortunate Scholastic Books mystery feel (39 Clues and more recently TombQuest). Sure, there's a social media aspect to reading now but it's just a natural evolution of the in person book clubs and other word of mouth ways people have shared their favorite books since the rise of the novel.