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KPCW invites members of the Friends of the Park City and Summit County libraries to review novels and non-fiction every month.

July 2024 Book Review | 'The Paris Novel'

"The Paris Novel" is the KPCW's book review for July.
Penguin-Random House
"The Paris Novel" is the KPCW's book review for July.

It’s summer, a perfect time to indulge our travel bugs.  Whether you’re spending this summer crossing exotic locations off your destination wish-list or staying put right here in the Wasatch back, “The Paris Novel” offers a tasty escape. 

This summer more than 15 million visitors will descend on the city of Paris, paying an average of 690 euros or almost $740 per night for a hotel room. On the other hand, you can indulge in all the best of Paris for free when you pick up “The Paris Novel” by Ruth Reichl at your local library.

This concise tale delivers an escape to everything Paris is famous for.

The author, Ruth Reichl, earned the James Beard Lifetime Achievement award for food writing, and it shows. Michelin Star chefs are name dropped throughout while their meals are related in language evoking texture, taste and aroma so precisely that the reader feels full in real life, the escargot a possible exception.

Rare wines and their enchanting vineyards are offered up to the reader with nothing short of spiritual reverence.

Fine and rare art plays a central role in the plot, but it is Paris’ fine fashion that triggers the most important developments. A who’s who of major designers is sprinkled throughout the adventure.

Our protagonist Stella leads a colorless and solitary existence in New York City until she is compelled to travel to Paris. Like all the best fairy tales, Stella is transformed when she chances on a rare original Dior dress. Under the influence of Dior, Manet, Alain Passard and Shakespeare & Co. bookstore, Stella gradually comes to life.

This is a fun, entertaining tale about embracing and appreciating what life is offering. While this fanciful tale of self-discovery and healing does not take itself too seriously, that is ultimately the point as Stella slowly emerges from her cocoon and opens herself to art, food, wine, beauty and love.

If you are yearning for an artistic and culinary adventure without the ten plus hour flight, “The Paris Novel” by Ruth Reichl is available today at your local library. For KPCW, this is Cathy Lanigan.