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13, rue Therese: A Novel

13, rue Therese: A Novel

4.1 61
by Elena Mauli Shapiro

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American academic Trevor Stratton discovers a box full of artifacts from World War I as he settles into his new office in Paris. The pictures, letters, and objects in the box relate to the life of Louise Brunet, a feisty, charming Frenchwoman who lived through both World Wars.

As Trevor examines and documents the relics the box offers up, he begins to imagine


American academic Trevor Stratton discovers a box full of artifacts from World War I as he settles into his new office in Paris. The pictures, letters, and objects in the box relate to the life of Louise Brunet, a feisty, charming Frenchwoman who lived through both World Wars.

As Trevor examines and documents the relics the box offers up, he begins to imagine the story of Louise Brunet's life: her love for a cousin who died in the war, her marriage to a man who works for her father, and her attraction to a neighbor in her building at 13 rue Thérèse. The more time he spends with the objects though, the truer his imaginings of Louise's life become, and the more he notices another alluring Frenchwoman: Josianne, his clerk, who planted the box in his office in the first place, and with whom he finds he is falling in love.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"13, rue Thérèse is a puzzle-novel and gave me the same fizzy satisfaction as completing a Sunday crossword. It will light up your brain and your heart."—David Ebershoff, bestselling author of The 19th Wife and The Danish Girl"

Shapiro's debut, an imaginative, sensual rendering of a Parisian woman's life, is told through the voice of Trevor Stratton, a young American scholar and translator working at a university in Paris. Stratton finds a box filled with objects dating back to WWI that once belonged to Louise Brunet, and his fascination with the box's contents-postcards, handkerchiefs, love letters, and other vintage keepsakes-leads him to imagine what Brunet's life in Paris might have been. What Stratton isn't aware of at first is that the box was left for him by Josianne, a secretary at the university, who is using the box and its contents to measure Stratton's romantic worthiness. As Stratton unfolds Brunet's story against the background of WWI battlefields and several inventions-a lover, Camille Victor, who dies in battle; a resulting unhappy marriage to husband Henri; and a passionate affair with a married neighbor, Xavier Langlais-he gradually comes to realize that Josianne is the source of his archival inspiration. The book is illustrated with photos of the actual objects owned by Shapiro, cleverly used as the novel's framing device."—Publishers Weekly

Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Elena Mauli Shapiro was born and raised in Paris, France, in an apartment below the real-life Louise Brunet's. She has a BA from Stanford University in English and French, an MFA in Fiction Writing from Mills College, and an MA in Comparative Literature from UC Davis. This novel was a finalist for the 2009 Bakeless literary prize.

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13, rue Therese 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
autumnbluesreviews More than 1 year ago
The book is fiction, but the mysterious box on which it is based is real. Every item inside it, described in the book in intimate detail and photographs, exists. We may never know the real story behind each of them, but the items themselves offer a peek, and it inspired a woman to catch that mystery, wonder, and inspiration in this lovely, movingly descriptive novel. What an exceptionally intriguing novel this has been, from start to finish. From the beginning I was fascinated by the objects found in the box. Such simple things yet they can tell so much of a life. Louise and her husband seem to float by each other daily as if not even connected. The true essence of their marriage drained away like a bottle of whisky is drained by an alcoholic street urchin. With such boredom in her marriage it does not surprise me when Louise turns into such a naughty wife later in the book. The relationship of Louise and her cousin although strange was not something uncommon in the early 1900. However I could feel her father's rage and frustration at hearing such news. But did her father really feel this way? We shall never know. I found it rather odd when her piano student seemed to have lost her mind and proclaimed her love for Louise is such a weird way. My favorite part in this book was when Louise took off for the old farm to be alone. It struck me as something I would have done if I was her. 13, Rue Therese is at times sad and at others quite funny, mixed with a bit of sexual scandal and weirdness. Trevor seems to be in a trance half the time and is very comical at others as he studies the objects in his possession. The most intriguing part of this book is when Trevor crosses paths with someone from the past, that someone who is very much a part of the objects from the box. Is it a ghostly figure? Or has he crossed into another dimension, into the very past of which he is probing. Find out by reading 13, Rue Therese, I promise you will not put it down until the very end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one of the most confused, and confusing, books I've ever read. It seems like it belongs in the YA genre, and yet it has too much sex in it for that. It could be a romance novel, but the plot is all over the place -- whereas romances have a definite story arc. Halfway through, I still didn't know whose voice I was hearing when. The narrator? Trevor? The author herself? Louise? I pushed on to the end, hoping for a resolution that would explain it all, but it never happened. The book reads more like a first draft than a finished novel.
Maggie50 More than 1 year ago
This novel by first-time author Elena Mauli Shapiro offers an intriguing premise. An American translator, Trevor Stratton, is working in Paris and finds a box of mementos hidden in his office. The mementos belonged to Louise Brunet, a deceased neighbor of Stratton's secretary. The secretary placed the box in Stratton's office to test his imaginative powers and also to lure him as a potential lover. Stratton succeeds on both accounts. The two story lines are intertwined as Stratton slowly conjures up the elements of Louise's life: her family (the loss of mother and brother, her father's close attachment to her); and her love life (true love killed in WWI, a respectable but childless marriage, a passionate love affair). The novel's plot development is rather limited, sometimes confusing and marred by occasional jolting passages of clumsy erotica writing. In these passages the author seems unduly influenced by Harlequin novels and the unfortunate result is more parody than passion. Ms. Mauli Shapiro would profit from studying authors such as Mary Wesley and Edith Pearlman who managed to write about love, sex and passion without relying on adolescent descriptions. Since "13, rue Thérèse" includes overwrought passion within the ever-ageless plot of people searching for love (and is set in Paris), the author will probably receive lucrative offers for the movie rights. However, any early financial success should not deter Ms. Mauli Shapiro from efforts to improve her writing skills, as she does show imaginative promise in this first effort.
Heavensent1 More than 1 year ago
13 rue Thérèse takes you back in time by weaving a tale of romantic mystery. You begin to be drawn to the main characters, Louise Brunet from the past and Trevor Stanton of the present. You read how Trevor finds a box and becomes drawn to the story of Louise, and feels compelled to uncover her tale. With pictures, artifacts, mementos and more strewn throughout the books pages, the author captures your sense of mystery and you cannot wait for the story to unfold. Your left to speculate on a time and a place in a distant past that leaves you almost seeing and hearing what the author is trying to write. Louise is simple but beckoning, her methods naive yet animalistic. You will learn of love lost and love found. You will feel Louise yearn for a child that may never come and you find yourself unable to let go until you have finished the story and walked with Louise through all that she could be. The book is a quick read and I felt driven to finish, to bring to life the woman known as Louise Brunet. To allow her live if even in my heart, for a few more moments. It is a gripping story of sex, love, lies, war, passion and history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Runs to restult 17
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Sure" Sydney said.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Draws his blade
olde-bookworm More than 1 year ago
I started reading this based on the cover - a no, no! expecting a grand historical novel (in not many pages). I cannot get it - who is speaking, to whom, where they are, etc. etc. I am not finishing the book....maybe someday someone will re-write it so I can read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guthix:we have been gone for about two months and this is what we come back to? Sonic:all the campers are doing nothing...
Iwant2Bawriter More than 1 year ago
I read this with a book club, made up of teachers and history lovers. I am not a former teacher, but a lover of history and time slips. I found this book to be confusing and did not ever understand why the narrator began everything with "Sir." It was not until the end that I sensed the narrator was, in effect, channeling these figures from the past. It just was confusing and I did not like the main character of Louise at all, she was not a character you, or I, would love. I did not put it down and finished it, but it was a disappointment. I expected so much more.
Bookbadger More than 1 year ago
This was a very cleverly written novel that kept me turning pages just to see what the protagonist would come up with next, and what the heroine would do...would she have an affair or stay with her staid husband? The little object we leave behind have so much more to offer a person with some immagination than just their obvious surface function. They become tiny time machines that can send us back in our history to a time and place fraught with emotion and resonance. I would recommend this book for a book club mostly comprised of women over 35.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Call me kain cuz theres another jason here
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go to camp all results!! New camp!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*slightly pulls arrow back and the arrow launches off and hits shadow targe and shadow slowy falls and is dieing; eyes glow then shadow fades* i love my powers *brings another arrow back and mummbles something in greek then more shadows aprea then run away* come here my targets. *runs after them fyi this is only for practice*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wers sammi?????
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey kev wats up
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No, im talking about another Logan. The brother of Batu. Thats the Logan im talking about.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"What seems to be the problem?" she asked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rtdgfhfhfhchchxgfggd!"&)&,) random letters...