Perestroika in Paris

Perestroika in Paris

Book - 2020 | First edition.
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"Paras (short for Perestroika) is a spirited racehorse at a racetrack west of Paris. At dusk, one afternoon she pushes open the door of her stall - she's a curious filly - and, after traveling through the night, arrives by chance in the City of Light. She's dazzled, and often mystified, by the sights, sounds and smells around her, but she isn't afraid. Soon she meets an elegant dog, a German shorthair pointer named Frida, who knows how to get by without attracting the attention of suspicious Parisians. Paras and Frida coexist for a time in the city's lush green spaces, nourished by Frida's strategic trips to the bakery and the butchershop. They keep company with two irrepressible ducks, and an opinionated raven. But then Paras meets a human boy, Etienne, and discovers a new, otherworldly part of Paris: the secluded, ivy-walled house where the boy and his nearly-one-hundred-year-old great grandmother live, quietly and unto themselves. As the cold weather and Christmas near, the unlikeliest of friendships bloom among humans and animals alike. But how long can a runaway horse live undiscovered in Paris? And how long can a boy keep her hidden, and all his own? Jane Smiley's beguiling new novel is itself an adventure that celebrates curiosity and ingenuity, and expresses the desire of all creatures for true friendship, love, and freedom."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2020.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780525520351
Characteristics: 265 pages : illustration, map ; 21 cm


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Feb 24, 2021

This book by Jane Smiley is unique in that the story is told by a race horse, dog, raven rat and pair of mallard ducks. They find a friend in a young boy who is isolated and being raised by a very elderly, blind grandmother. I enjoyed the Paris setting and the interaction among this animals and hoped there would be a happy ending. What disappointed me was that I thought the format of narration by a disparate group of animals would be a parable, i.e. a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. The meaning behind the story was missing for me. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Feb 14, 2021

Recommended by Barbara

Feb 12, 2021

What a wonderful book! All the characters had distinct and charming voices, and the story meandered beautifully to a very satisfying conclusion. I loved it.

Feb 08, 2021

Loved this story. I didn't realize it was a YA novel. Or was it?! It doesn't matter!
Such a pleasure to read and a lovely change of perspective from the animals point of view, without each characters voice being dumbed down to stereotypes.
This story made me smile and what I needed during these times. Well researched, clever, articulate. I learned a lot as well. Five Stars!

Feb 06, 2021

So, that was a surprise! A children’s story for adults, and what a pleasure it was to read.

Jan 23, 2021

Perestroika in Paris is a pure delight of a book. Very fun. Reminded me a little of Watership Down but more upbeat. Almost a happy fairy tale. Jane Smiley knows how to make her writing above and beyond. Has anyone read any of her YA books? If so, which are the best? This would definitely be suitable for teens and up.

Jan 02, 2021

A horse, dog, raven, rat and human child living together, mostly unnoticed, in the heart of Paris is certainly impossible; but why should the impossible happen only in children's books? I was surprised at how easy it was to suspend disbelief, possibly because the inner thoughts and of the animals just made sense with what we know about their behaviour. A charming story to escape into.

Dec 27, 2020

This was a captivating story, starting with a curious French racehorse named Perestroika (Paras for short) who leaves her stable and ends up wandering to Paris. With each animal that Paras meets on her journey, I became more engrossed in the tale. A dog, a raven, a mallard couple, a rat, and a young boy - as Christmas nears these become Paras' family. Several humans notice the horse and the dog, yet no one threatens their newfound life in the City of Light.

The story is told alternatively from many characters' points of view (including the animals) in a believable style that is both convincing and engaging. I especially liked the way various characters ended up connecting due to their interest in Paras. While marketed as an adult novel, it's sweet and heartwarming and a good fit for anyone from ten years and older. The perfect story to read during the holidays when we all need to be reminded of joy, hope, and love.

Michael Colford Dec 25, 2020

Perfect book for the times, a magical little tale about Perestroika, a race horse who spends the winter in Paris befriending a dog named Frida, a raven called Raoul, a couple of mallards named Sid & Nancy, a rat named Kurt, and a select assortment of humans. This gentle story explores the city of Paris surrounding the Eiffel Tower, highlighting the bakeries and butcher shops as well as the lovely parks as they explored by Perestroika and Frida.

Smiley has a soothing, gentle way of writing, describing the neighborhood by the smells and sounds heard by the animals, and creating a lovely portrait that humans possibly miss out on. Her characters are unique and full of personality. Truly a delightful read.

Dec 21, 2020

Finally a book that makes you feel good and takes your mind off the miseries of this world.
This allegorical tale is refreshing, enchanting, comforting . I haven't felt that way since I read The Petit Prince. A perfect read for the Holidays.

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