Friday, January 10, 2014

REVIEW: Two Paris Tales + One

Two Paris Tales + One
By: E Journey

Genre: Literary, Travel
Publication date: 11.30.2013
Pages: 33

Date read: 1.6.2014
Recommended by: Read 2 Review

Summary: Paris fascinates. Still. Paris Café Caper and The Gypsy are two short stories set in Paris that draw you into the very personal experience of two young Americans, one a young man on his first trip to the city of his dreams in the permissive 70s, and the other, a boy of 11, and the early days of his bewildering new life on the tiny island of Ile Saint Louis. The third story in Two Paris Tales plus One, The Secret, is equally personal and deals with real life issues that can blindside anyone.

My thoughts

I was really excited when I decided to read this set of stories - it's stories about Paris, which is a city that I find very interesting - but I ended up feeling disappointed at the end of the book.  I will admit that they were nicely written, but there were some things that really bothered me.

First, according to Amazon, this book falls under the genre "psychological thrillers."  This is how Wikipedia describes this genre: "Psychological thriller is a fictional thriller story which emphasizes the psychology of its characters and their unstable emotional states.  In terms of classification, the category is a sub-genre of the broader ranging thriller category, with similarities to Gothic and detective fiction in the sense of something having a 'dissolving sense of reality,' moral ambiguity and complex and tortured relationships between obsessive and pathological characters.  Psychological thrillers often incorporate elements of mystery, drama and horror, particularly psychological horror."  I really didn't feel like any of the these three stories provided that.

Second, there was no real point to any of them and the only thing that connected them was the city they were located in.  I would have liked an introduction of some sort to explain why the author chose to write these stories, the reason behind them, offer some background information, especially since, in short story format, there are things that can't be included because of the small space available.

Third, with the first story especially, there was no real ending.  It was a story that abruptly ended.  I realize that in short stories you have a small space to put a whole story, but you should not end the story with the reader thinking "And?!?!" which is what I thought when that story ended.

Let me now discuss the specific stories:

The first one is called Paris Cafe Caper.  (Caper, according to dictionary.com, is a noun with a couple of meanings: 1 a playful leap or skip 2 a prank or trick; harebrained escapade 3 a frivolous, carefree episode or activity 4 slang - a criminal or illegal act, as a burglary or robbery.)  I guess I assumed that, with the word caper in the title, it would be more of the #4 (see definition provided), but after looking it up, I realize that it was more of a #3 - and frivolous it was.  A college student from America goes to France, meets a French student and her lover at a cafe, they show him around, he believes this girl is perfect.  So?!?!  I mean, I guess it's a cute story, but it's more of a story someone would email to their friend from their trip, not something they'd write a short story about.  And, as I mentioned before, there is no ending - it abruptly ends with no real conclusion, which is frustrating.

The second is called The Gypsy.  This one is actually a cute story, though still pointless, but with an ending.  It is told from the point of view of a child watching people out of her window and the day to day things she witnesses after watching a pretty lady her mom called a gypsy.

The third is called The Secret.  It's a story of attempted suicide and unexpected truths.  The author note at the end says it's intended as a prologue to a story, which I'm glad about because I'd like to know more about this one. 

In the end, as I said, I felt disappointed.  I wanted to know more on all situations, I wanted to know why on all situations.  I wish the author would have included some sort of introduction or, as other short story authors do, an author note at the end of each story.  This would have provided more and I think would have made the book better.

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