13, rue Therese: A Novel

13, rue Therese: A Novel

by Elena Mauli Shapiro

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316083331
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 03/05/2012
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 929,514
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About 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 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 73 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.
countrylife on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Author owns box of mementos from a deceased neighbor lady who survived both wars; author weaves story imagining the lady¿s life using these items as touchstones in her story. I should not have based my expectations on so little. A love story through the years of the Great War, Louise¿s main story in 1928, and the `research¿ about Louise happening in current times, all converge in a time warp to tell a warped story. I am not the reader for time warp fantasy, nor steamy sex romps, neither of which I was expecting when I picked up this book. (I¿ve added an extra star in case it¿s ¿just me¿.) Fading in and out from the future to share the body of a character in a previous time in order to report the findings of the story. No. Reciting the Lord¿s Prayer while engaging in illicit lovemaking. Heavens, no. To wind it all up at the end as a frivolous little prank. Really? I just wasted my time on that? Gack! No! I wish someone had told me, ¿No. Don¿t waste your time.¿ So, I¿m telling you.
nicx27 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is such an unusual and intriguing read. I know it has had some poor reviews, but I had a feeling I would like it and I did. Trevor Stratton, an American professor living in Paris, is given a box of mementoes from the life of Louise Brunet, by his assistant, Josianne. She happens to live at 13 Rue Therese, where Louise also lived many years earlier. The book goes through the items in the box (including pictures) and also links in the story of a particular time in Louise's life, in 1928. Something quite bizarre happens towards the end, a moment of realisation for me as a reader. Quite odd, but I loved it and it made the whole thing make more sense somehow. I think anybody who enjoys dual time frame novels, ephemera and family stories would like this book. I'm very glad I read it. It's quite clever really, very unique.
PriscillaM on LibraryThing 8 months ago
'13, rue Therese', did not live up to my expectations. The cover design and premise encouraged me to purchase the book, and I had recently been to Paris. Maybe it was the slightly disjointed style of writing I didn't like, or maybe I was affected by the character of Louise Brunet, who although appearing to those who new her to be a happy vibrant woman, to me she was inwardly a very sad person. At times very erotic, but I feel this was partly her searching for love to compensate for her heartache.
rmckeown on LibraryThing 8 months ago
An old saying goes, ¿Don¿t judge a book by its cover.¿ Well, that is exactly what I did when I bought this book. An intriguing picture dominates the cover, and the mention of a ¿box of memories¿ on the jacket clinched the deal. This first novel was every bit as intriguing and exotic as the jacket.Josianne works as an assistant in the faculty offices of a university in Paris, France. She has in her possession a box with a curious assortment of photos, letters, envelops, coins, gloves, and a few other personal items. Louise Brunet owned the box and assembled the contents. Upon her death, no relatives claimed her possessions, so the box came to Josianne. She places the box in the office of a new professor, Trevor Stratton. He becomes obsessed with the contents, and goes on a wildly imaginative journey, creating lives and events for the individuals in the pictures and mentioned in the letters.The story has an air of mystery and charm, with some tragedy mixed in, along with some love, and several scenes of brief but intense eroticism, and a dollop of magic realism for some spice. Louise¿s story becomes Trevor¿s, and Trevor¿s becomes Josianne¿s, and Josianne¿s becomes Louise¿s story. Separating truth from reality, from fantasy, and from myth make this a most enjoyable read. Illustrations of the contents of the box accompany Trevor¿s spinning of the tale.As I read, I became more and more intrigued. In the top of my closet, I have a box of memories. Most of them associated with a pen pal I had over a 30 year period. Photos, postcards, letters, small items, even coins and money make up a story only I know. I got out the box after finishing this novel, and roamed over the landscape of my memories dating back to 1965. Maybe I should write it all down before someone else does it for me. This is a most enjoyable read, and I heartily recommend it. Five stars--Jim, 3/13/11
autumnblues on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A mysterious allure into the past so enticing with a hint of eroticism. 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.
tututhefirst on LibraryThing 8 months ago
One of the most innovative, imaginative novels I've read in a long time, 13 rue Thérèse is a story within a story, a puzzle, a mystery, and a charming portrait of Paris from World War I through WW II, and up to the present.Elena Mauli Shapiro, the author actually lived at this address, and found a box of 'treasures' long abandoned there. There's a wonderful conversation on the books webpage where she explains how she came to write the story Using the contents of the treasure box--old pictures, playbills, postcards, lace gloves, a scarf, a rosary, a crucifix necklace, etc--she rebuilds the story of Louise and Henri Brunet the previous occupants. But she also gives us the story of Trevor Stratton, the contemporary American researcher who 'discovers' the box, after it is planted by the office secretary Josianne, and his strange reactions to the artifacts as he writes about them. This part of the story-- the relationship between Trevor and Josianne, and his letters to an unnamed "Dear Sir" are the weakest part of the story, but not weak enough to detract from the overall weave of the story.We are treated to unrequited love, illicit love, an everyday marriage, and a bizarre compilation of coincidences, conflicts and puzzles. We have a wonderful picture of Paris in the 1930's, of women's roles in that period between the two World Wars. It's amazing, fun, and thought-provoking. In addition, Ms. Shapiro has given us a series of QR codes (I had to look that one up!): "Quick response codes" that readers who have such an app on their smart phones can use to bring up enhanced pictures of the treasures in the box. For those of us who don't have such up-to-date skills and/or technologies, there are enhanced photos, audio and video clips available on the books webpage. It's a veritable treasure box itself. It's a tough book to categorize or summarize, just as working a puzzle is difficult to explain. It's a book that is to be experienced rather than read. There is quite a bit of french in the story, but the author does an admirable job of translating without disturbing the flow of the story.
voracious on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I enjoyed this book for it's creativity and originality. The author came to possess a box of odds and ends saved by a previous tenant that had died in her building in Paris. She used these photographs and artifacts to create a fictional account of the woman's life. Included in the book are photographic images of the artifacts, as she found them. The technology used to replicate these images made this story particularly enjoyable. The story that emerges is one of passion, forbidden love, and loss, centered around the time period of World War I. The story was reminiscent of Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar" as the character was willing to engage in risky and sensual behaviors that transcended the scripted roles of the time period. There are also hyperlinks via QR codes that you can use with smartphone barcode scanners to link back to the website and see the artifacts in closer detail. In all, a fascinating idea to fuse technology and storytelling in a timeless story of a woman's life.
UnderMyAppleTree on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This beautifully written and illustrated book is a magical tale woven around a box of artifacts owned by the author. They tell the story of Louise Brunet, a woman who lived in the early part of the 20th century, as imagined by Trevor Stratton, an American academic working in present day Paris.Trevor discovers a mysterious box of letters and mementoes in his office that was secretly left there by his secretary. He becomes enchanted by the objects; old love letters, notes, faded photos, pieces of music even a pair of gloves. As he examines each of them he begins to write about their significance in a series of letters to someone identified only as `Sir¿ and in doing so creates the story of Louise. At the same time Trevor is becoming more aware of his secretary and the role she plays in his discovering the objects.Louise is not what I would consider a typical woman of the 1920¿s. Her thoughts, desires and actions are more consistent with those of someone living today. But then I would remind myself that I was experiencing Trevor¿s fantasy of Louise¿s life. Childless and married to a man of her father¿s choosing, Louise suffered heartbreak when the love of her life was killed in The Great War. While she loves her husband, he is not the man of her dreams. She wants a child. She wants passion. She has neither.Louise is an intriguing and complex woman; she also has a naughty streak. Thinking about a pair of lace gloves she is wearing while in church causes her mind to wander off on an imagined sexual fantasy. Another time she makes a false confession to shock a priest. She has a desire to sleep with her new neighbor and writes him anonymous letters while at the same time she invites him and his wife to dinner.Throughout the pages the book is illustrated with color photos of the actual objects which were the inspiration for the novel. Each of the photos are also displayed on an interactive website which can be reached through links in the book, a wonderful enhancement to the story. This is a book that must be seen to be appreciated. Go take a look at that gorgeous site; you will not be disappointed; you will be intrigued.Love story, romance and fantasy, this is a clever and captivating story that is at times both sexy and adult. It is a puzzle that keeps you wondering until the very end when all the pieces ultimately fall into place. An enjoyable read.
bearette24 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Very interesting, strange book. The author inherits a box of possessions from a dead woman and spins a story out of the objects therein. The ending was a bit abrupt but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
vietnambutterfly on LibraryThing 8 months ago
What an interesting novel, one that involves the reader in opening a box of mementoes and following the story of Louise's life and loves. The intermeshing of the past with the present was presented in a intelligent way. Well worth the read.
Sylvia7749 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I loved this book about 40 pages into it. The ending was a little ambiguous but an entertaining and quick read over all.
njmom3 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The basis of this book is an actual box of letters and mementos that the author has. Through each of these items, the author concocts an imagined life for the woman to whom box belonged. The book includes color illustrations of the items and smart-phone codes to links to more information about each item.Unfortunately, I got lost in the writing style and the story - and not in a good way. I found it difficult to keep the characters and the time period straight. The stories from the past and the present intermingled. The imagined history of this woman includes a love that her father did not approve of, a love lost in the war, a practical marriage, and an affair that results from the unhappiness of that marriage. The same items could have resulted in a very different story. I simply did not enjoy the one the author had to tell.
alexann on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A box of memorabilia--letters, photos, calling cards--is left in the office of a visiting American professor when he begins his term at a Parisian university. The items, which are lovingly reproduced in this book, come with no explanation, so the professor, Trevor Stratton, decides to piece together their story. He fabricates a complex tale involving the woman who lives at 13 rue Therese, her husband, and the ever-so-attractive man who moves into their building. Trevor's story is very complex--filled with duplicity and titillating detail. But for whom is he writing it? Who is the "Sir" who receives his letters?We know that the lovely college secretary who currently lives at 13 rue Therese initially found the box, and has tried it out on several visiting professors in the past. It's a puzzle, both to Trevor and the reader, which may or may not be solved to one's satisfaction. It struck me as a bunch of tomfoolery. It took too long to read, and served no purpose. It's finely written, and certainly will appeal to readers who enjoy stories set in Paris and filled with that French ambiance. Not my cup of tea!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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...