Plum Blossoms in Parisby Sarah Hina
Post-grad neuroscience student Daisy Lockhart has never been short on brains, but after her longtime boyfriend, Andy Templeton, dumps her through e-mail, she is short on dreams. Alone for the first time in six years, Daisy allows herself to finally be an individual instead of half of a couple.See more details below
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Post-grad neuroscience student Daisy Lockhart has never been short on brains, but after her longtime boyfriend, Andy Templeton, dumps her through e-mail, she is short on dreams. Alone for the first time in six years, Daisy allows herself to finally be an individual instead of half of a couple.
Rich in fascinating details about the art and culture of Paris, Hina's debut novel is a terrific literary love letter to the City of Light. . . . The writing itself is imbued with a stylish sense of wit.
"Rich in fascinating details about the art and culture of Paris, Hina’s debut novel is a terrific literary love letter to the City of Light. . . . The writing itself is imbued with a stylish sense of wit." Booklist
"Metaphors, similes, and literary references abound in this ornately written novel of self-discovery." Library Journal
"This is an entertaining contemporary relationship drama in which Paris owns the story line." Harriet Klausner
- Medallion Media Group
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Plum Blossoms in Paris
By Sarah Hina
Medallion Press, Inc.Copyright © 2010 Sarah Hina
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWhen he told me he no longer loved me, I fell to my knees.
I know. Even I was conscious of caving to melodrama as I collapsed toward the peapuke, paisley carpet.
I offered my forehead like a fallen prayer to the floor, and when my new roommate, smiley Selena, came in, that's where she found me-nose to spit, prostrate with misery. She took the scene in, and since we never had much to say to one another (her bumper sticker cheeps, Abstinence Rocks!), she just as efficiently turned to leave. I never appreciated anyone's callousness so much in all my life.
Where was the mysterious lover, the dumper, in all of this? Five hundred miles away, numbing his nerves with alcohol-or so I want to believe. He could have been taking a nap, jacking off, or studying for a test. It was not within my power to know. I should have mentioned, from the start, that he was a slippery, sucker-punching coward. He broke up with me, in spite of a six-year relationship, by e-mail. A nice, clean channel of cyberspace, where messy conflict does not compute. He apologized for this, of course.
I know I should tell you this myself, but I'm afraid the sound of your voice might prevent me from speaking the absolute truth. I know you would only want me to be honest; I respect you too much for anything less.
I felt very respected by that chummy, conjugal semicolon. So respected, I nearly vomited on Selena's pile of Cosmos stacked neatly against the couch.
After a moment, or a lifetime, I looked up. My laptop blinked sanguinely at me from the coffee table. The mouse was grimed up with powdered cheese from the chips I still tasted. There were other artifacts of a familiar life-my favorite coffee mug (Naturally Selected to be Awesome!), a worn Neuroscience textbook, a framed picture of Irene and me swooning for Bono, and the latest untouched offering from my father-W. Somerset Maugham's A Razor's Edge. But I mostly just saw Andy's words. In brutal black and white.
I felt assaulted. But, if I'm honest, also the faintest exultation. My body, unaccustomed to anything but the paperwork of living, flickered to life. My stomach bubbled. Senses sharpened. I was conscious of the smallness of my hands braced, like bird's feet, across the carpet, as my lungs tugged for more oxygen. The room's molecules swirled in a chaotic dance while the faint scent of chemicals floated off my lab jacket and scratched at my nose.
None of it could save me. Destruction can be the spark for a rebirth by fire, but I knew that all my body's heightened defenses couldn't keep me from just feeling burned. Not reborn.
Yet something was different. Andy didn't love me anymore.
He was my high school sweetheart, even if the preciousness of that term seemed all wrong for us. We were brainy, self-absorbed, and, okay, innocent of the world's demands when we started dating at sixteen. He read all of my haikus in The Spartan Pen and never quite laughed. I went to all of his basketball games and never quite slept. We were nearly as ambitious for our relationship as we were for THE FUTURE. We both enrolled at Ohio State because he couldn't afford Princeton, and we shook our heads over lesser high school couples who splintered within one year of college. After he was bounced into Harvard Medical School from the waiting list, I settled for Case Western Reserve University's Neuroscience Program and shot him off to Cambridge with a smile and all the goodwill I could afford. I swallowed my pride, though it choked a little. We suffered through one year apart, and though we were too busy to spend any substantial part of the summer together, I was confident we were happy and satisfied. I felt settled. Thoughts of a ring had drifted through my head lately-a sweet tonic to the institutional boredom of lab work. But I didn't allow myself to linger over those daydreams. I wasn't going to be a girl about it.
Okay, I lingered on it long enough to decide on a PhD at Harvard after a summer wedding and a honeymoon in Europe.
Just. That. Long.
We were a match, a team, a mission. Andy and Daisy. Daisyandandy.
I don't know how to be alone, I confided to the carpet, where I saw myself scattering into a thousand paisley pieces. Like a tree robbed of all its leaves, I was all nerves and no color.
Outside, the October air whispered, then shouted. I shivered.
It was the season of my discontent.
Excerpted from Plum Blossoms in Paris by Sarah Hina Copyright © 2010 by Sarah Hina. Excerpted by permission.
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