Zelda, The Queen of Paris: The True Story of the Luckiest Dog in the World

Overview


One day a scraggly little street dog came begging at the back door of a young American couple living in New Delhi, India. She was painfully thin, with blotches on her coat from malnutrition, and she looked as though she hadn’t slept in weeks. But when the door opened, this strange little dog wagged her tail, put an endearing smile on her face, and charmed her way straight inside.

In India, shopkeepers usually shoo away wild street dogs—or worse—but this little creature was ...

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Zelda, The Queen of Paris

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Overview


One day a scraggly little street dog came begging at the back door of a young American couple living in New Delhi, India. She was painfully thin, with blotches on her coat from malnutrition, and she looked as though she hadn’t slept in weeks. But when the door opened, this strange little dog wagged her tail, put an endearing smile on her face, and charmed her way straight inside.

In India, shopkeepers usually shoo away wild street dogs—or worse—but this little creature was impossible to resist. She had humor, she had joie de vivre, and she had a devilish side that quickly earned her the name Zelda. And so it began: a magical odyssey that would carry this sassy urchin from the slums of India to the elegant gardens and parlors of Paris, to the sun-dappled beaches of Italy, and finally to the fabled hills and vineyards of California Wine Country. Zelda truly was “the luckiest dog in the world.”

But this is a story about far more than luck. It’s a story about dignity and courage, about how a generous heart and an indomitable spirit can lift you up, change your life, and lead you to happiness and even triumph. Zelda begins life as a homeless beggar girl, but thanks to her character and panache she becomes a star, known far and wide as the Queen of Paris, and a real-life heroine you will never forget.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A grungy street dog turned world adventurer, with breeding, class, and spirit that comes from who knows where, Zelda is always out front, leading the Chutkow clan in this delightful tale from New Delhi to Paris to the wine country of Northern California. This dog’s got good karma!” --Richard Mendelson, author of Wine in America and From Demon to Darling: A Legal History of Wine in America

"Zelda is an exquisitely charming tale of redemption through the wiles of a mangy Indian slum dog. Slum dog!  Yes. I read this irresistible book in one sitting, and now slum dogs are my favorite breed of mutt." --John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

"A heartwarming tale of a street dog from India and her faithful human companions.Journalist Chutkow (VISA: The Power of an Idea, 2001, etc.) opens a door into his personal life as he narrates the charming story of Zelda, the Indian scavenger dog. Befriending a scruffy street dog was one of the last things on the author’s mind while working as an AP journalist in India under Indira Gandhi’s rule. However, this ragamuffin “monster” and “trollop” of a dog wheedled her way into the Chutkow’s life. She became a steadfast companion to the author, his wife and newborn son through her “boundless courage, humor and high spirits.” When Chutkow was reassigned to Paris, Zelda followed. Parisians turned their nose up at the little urchin, but the author leaned on Zelda’s friendship when his son had several medical emergencies. Interspersed among trips to the hospital are amusing stories of Zelda growing addicted to Camembert cheese, warm croissants and homemade borscht. Eventually, Zelda gained renown in Paris when she helped police apprehend a burglar. Suddenly, she was the “Queen of Paris” and “the very picture of European refinement.” And yet, writes the author, “she remained the high-spirited, impulsive Indian street girl, charming, capricious, and totally untamed, just as she had been born to be. After more than a decade in Paris with luxurious vacations in Sardinia, Chutkow returned to America with his family and Zelda. Chutkow weaves a tender, detail-rich story of how kindness and faith in the inherent goodness of an animal can turn a vagabond into a loving member of the family." --Kirkus

"If you ever dreamed of coming back in your second life as a dog, you couldn’t do much

better than have Paul and Eda Chutkow as your owners. . . . This onetime underdog’s upbeat temperament is contagious everywhere she travels, from the streets of Paris to a friend’s vacation home on the island of Sardinia, Italy, and later in Napa Valley, California. . . . Zelda’s sometimes bumpy ride is captured in detailed description and engaging scenarios, leaving the reader with a megawatt grin one minute and a delightful sense of wonderment the next." –Seattle Kennel Club

“[Paul Chutkow’s] story of Zelda is a modern day Pygmalion tale, in which Liza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, who was ostensibly the beneficiary of Professor Henry Higgins’s motivations, turns out to be Professor Higgins’ salvation. Similarly, though Paul Chutkow labels his Zelda as 'the luckiest dog in the world,' many readers of his evocative, entertaining story would recognize that it is actually Paul Chutkow who is the luckiest guy in the world.” --New York Journal of Books

"In the era of Marley and Me and the dozens of imitators who jumped onto the dog memoir bandwagon, this gem stands out. . . . This slum dog who rises above her humble beginnings will win over even the most cynical reader." --San Francisco Book Review


Kirkus Reviews
A heartwarming tale of a street dog from India and her faithful human companions. Journalist Chutkow (VISA: The Power of an Idea, 2001, etc.) opens a door into his personal life as he narrates the charming story of Zelda, the Indian scavenger dog. Befriending a scruffy street dog was one of the last things on the author's mind while working as an AP journalist in India under Indira Gandhi's rule. However, this ragamuffin "monster" and "trollop" of a dog wheedled her way into the Chutkow's life. She became a steadfast companion to the author, his wife and newborn son through her "boundless courage, humor and high spirits." When Chutkow was reassigned to Paris, Zelda followed. Parisians turned their nose up at the little urchin, but the author leaned on Zelda's friendship when his son had several medical emergencies. Interspersed among trips to the hospital are amusing stories of Zelda growing addicted to Camembert cheese, warm croissants and homemade borscht. Eventually, Zelda gained renown in Paris when she helped police apprehend a burglar. Suddenly, she was the "Queen of Paris" and "the very picture of European refinement." And yet, writes the author, "she remained the high-spirited, impulsive Indian street girl, charming, capricious, and totally untamed, just as she had been born to be. After more than a decade in Paris with luxurious vacations in Sardinia, Chutkow returned to America with his family and Zelda. Chutkow weaves a tender, detail-rich story of how kindness and faith in the inherent goodness of an animal can turn a vagabond into a loving member of the family.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762771479
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/4/2011
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Chutkow is an author and journalist who spent ten years reporting for the Associated Press, then served as a contributor to the arts & leisure and travel sections of the New York Times, the Indian Statesman, and Cigar Aficionado. His books include Depardieu, the biography of actor Gérard Depardieu, which Kirkus Reviews called “among the best books ever written about film acting.” Visit him at paulchutkow.com.

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