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Perestroika in Paris
$35.95

Perestroika in Paris

By Jane Smiley
392 Pages
Hardcover
December 2020

“If you’re looking for a feel-good escape, try this.” —The New York Times

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling author: a captivating, brilliantly imaginative story of three extraordinary animals--and a young boy--whose lives intersect in Paris.

Paras, short for "Perestroika," is a spirited racehorse at a racetrack west of Paris. One afternoon at dusk, she finds the door of her stall open and--she's a curious filly--wanders all the way to 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 shorthaired 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 vegetable market. 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 ivy-walled house where the boy and his nearly-one-hundred-year-old great-grandmother live in seclusion.

As the cold weather and Christmas near, the unlikeliest of friendships bloom. But how long can a runaway horse stay undiscovered in Paris? How long can a boy keep her hidden and all to himself? Jane Smiley's beguiling new novel is itself an adventure that celebrates curiosity, ingenuity, and the desire of all creatures for true love and freedom.


“Sprightly, fun . . . A lighthearted spree of a novel . . . Here Smiley stretches her talents even further.” Washington Post

“Wholesomely timeless, full of good intentions and happy endings that feel far removed from the problems of the moment.” —Wall Street Journal
 
“A cozy, fairy-tale trot through the City of Light . . . Delightful, heartwarming . . . An appealing balm for harsh times . . . It’s such a joy when an author whose work you’ve been reading for decades surprises you with something unexpected . . . An especially welcome reminder of the bright spots even in dark times.” —NPR.org
 
“In an era beset by polarization and even violent tribalism, it feels like a gift to find a novel in which characters of different species—with different desires and instincts—come together to build a community.” Los Angeles Times
 
“After writing some of the most brilliant and ferocious fiction of the past 40 years, Jane Smiley takes a gentler approach in Perestroika in Paris . . . Her tone may be genial, but she’s as tough-minded as ever . . . Underpinning the novel’s abundant humor is a pervasive atmosphere of loneliness and longing for companionship felt by humans and animals alike.” Boston Globe
 
“A beautifully done story . . . An absolutely extraordinary tribute to Paris.” —NPR’s Weekend Edition
 
“An immersive fable . . . Beguiling . . . A comforting read at the end of a difficult year—a winter’s tale full of wit, warmth, and charm.” The Economist 







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