Once again, Blog in France goes literary and today I’m featuring Paris, Rue des Martyrs by Adria J Cimino, as part of the novel’s virtual book tour. Not only is the book set in France, but the author is also an expat so I’m sure it will have very definite appeal for anyone who enjoys my blog.
Paris, Rue des Martyrs by Adria J. Cimino tells the stories of four linked strangers whose paths cross in Montmatre in Paris. These people are Rafael, who is searching for his birth mother; Cecile, an unhappy wife tempted by illicit passion; Andre, an aging actor, who finds his long abandoned son back in his life; and Mira, out of love with love after her fiancé dumps her, now seeking a new life.
Their separate stories intertwine. Not all the characters are native to the city, but they have very firm ties to it. This, and the familiarity of the characters’ routines in the Rue des Martyrs and the interconnectivity between the four flawed yet captivating protagonists, adds a great sense of unity and completeness to the novel. The author captures the soul of Montmatre, the famous artistic quartier of Paris and brings to life its atmosphere and its beauty. Cimino has a sharp eye for detail of every sort – in the characters, the setting, the background culture.
The book moves at a steady pace, taking us from one short scene to the next. We get to know the characters well, sympathising with them at times but at others becoming a little aggravated with their shortcomings. But that’s what people do to us, even ones we’re fond of. Cimino shows us all their facets, good and bad. I’m sure that every reader would like to saunter down Rue des Martyrs if they ever visit Paris in the hope they can catch a glimpse of these particular inhabitants.
There is a quest at the heart of the story but we have to keep reading to the end to discover what that’s all about. And that’s no hardship since it’s an absorbing, sparkling book written in a very readable, enjoyable style. It’s most definitely literary fiction, since it is elegantly written, lyrical and layered. It is very much driven by the inner stories of the characters and most definitely calls for our emotional involvement. A lot of reflection has gone into the writing of Paris, Rue des Martyrs and so it makes for a thoughtful read. It’s the sort of book you’ll think about, and in a rich, rewarding way, long after you’ve finished it.
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