Perestroika in Paris

Perestroika in Paris

A Novel

Book - 2020
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a
ABCDot
Mar 30, 2021

Light-hearted and fun! The human and animal characters are charming.

m
maipenrai
Mar 03, 2021

This book by Jane Smiley is unique in that the story is told by a race horse, dog, raven rat and pair of mallard ducks. They find a friend in a young boy who is isolated and being raised by a very elderly, blind grandmother. I enjoyed the Paris setting and the interaction among this animals and hoped there would be a happy ending. What disappointed me was that I thought the format of narration by a disparate group of animals would be a parable, i.e. a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. The meaning behind the story was missing for me. Kristi & Abby Tabby

m
maipenrai
Feb 24, 2021

This book by Jane Smiley is unique in that the story is told by a race horse, dog, raven rat and pair of mallard ducks. They find a friend in a young boy who is isolated and being raised by a very elderly, blind grandmother. I enjoyed the Paris setting and the interaction among this animals and hoped there would be a happy ending. What disappointed me was that I thought the format of narration by a disparate group of animals would be a parable, i.e. a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. The meaning behind the story was missing for me. Kristi & Abby Tabby

n
NANCY STAUFFER
Feb 14, 2021

Recommended by Barbara

j
jennerssbooks
Feb 12, 2021

What a wonderful book! All the characters had distinct and charming voices, and the story meandered beautifully to a very satisfying conclusion. I loved it.

r
RM_9
Feb 08, 2021

Loved this story. I didn't realize it was a YA novel. Or was it?! It doesn't matter!
Such a pleasure to read and a lovely change of perspective from the animals point of view, without each characters voice being dumbed down to stereotypes.
This story made me smile and what I needed during these times. Well researched, clever, articulate. I learned a lot as well. Five Stars!

k
Kidbean
Feb 06, 2021

So, that was a surprise! A children’s story for adults, and what a pleasure it was to read.

j
JWC214
Jan 23, 2021

Perestroika in Paris is a pure delight of a book. Very fun. Reminded me a little of Watership Down but more upbeat. Almost a happy fairy tale. Jane Smiley knows how to make her writing above and beyond. Has anyone read any of her YA books? If so, which are the best? This would definitely be suitable for teens and up.

l
lola_jane
Jan 02, 2021

A horse, dog, raven, rat and human child living together, mostly unnoticed, in the heart of Paris is certainly impossible; but why should the impossible happen only in children's books? I was surprised at how easy it was to suspend disbelief, possibly because the inner thoughts and of the animals just made sense with what we know about their behaviour. A charming story to escape into.

p
phyllis94941
Dec 27, 2020

This was a captivating story, starting with a curious French racehorse named Perestroika (Paras for short) who leaves her stable and ends up wandering to Paris. With each animal that Paras meets on her journey, I became more engrossed in the tale. A dog, a raven, a mallard couple, a rat, and a young boy - as Christmas nears these become Paras' family. Several humans notice the horse and the dog, yet no one threatens their newfound life in the City of Light.

The story is told alternatively from many characters' points of view (including the animals) in a believable style that is both convincing and engaging. I especially liked the way various characters ended up connecting due to their interest in Paras. While marketed as an adult novel, it's sweet and heartwarming and a good fit for anyone from ten years and older. The perfect story to read during the holidays when we all need to be reminded of joy, hope, and love.

Michael Colford Dec 25, 2020

Perfect book for the times, a magical little tale about Perestroika, a race horse who spends the winter in Paris befriending a dog named Frida, a raven called Raoul, a couple of mallards named Sid & Nancy, a rat named Kurt, and a select assortment of humans. This gentle story explores the city of Paris surrounding the Eiffel Tower, highlighting the bakeries and butcher shops as well as the lovely parks as they explored by Perestroika and Frida.

Smiley has a soothing, gentle way of writing, describing the neighborhood by the smells and sounds heard by the animals, and creating a lovely portrait that humans possibly miss out on. Her characters are unique and full of personality. Truly a delightful read.

g
genepy
Dec 21, 2020

Finally a book that makes you feel good and takes your mind off the miseries of this world.
This allegorical tale is refreshing, enchanting, comforting . I haven't felt that way since I read The Petit Prince. A perfect read for the Holidays.

b
brangwinn
Dec 01, 2020

This is an enjoyable animal fantasy. Peres (Perestroika) is a racehorse who managed to let herself out of the stable in Paris and sets out on an adventure. As she explores Paris, she becomes friends with a dog and an orphan boy. Their adventures are a great way to see Paris though different eyes and escape the political talking heads. I’ve been a children’s librarian forever and reading this book gives me the same warm feeing that reading a book by Kate DiCamillo.

d
darladoodles
Nov 17, 2020

Perestroika (Paras for short) discovers an unlatched stall and ventures out to find out if the grass really is greener in other parts of Paris. She meanders into a park near the Eiffel Tower and her period of freedom begins. Along with her are Frida (a dog), Roux (a raven), and Sid and Nancy (the Mallard couple). Frida is smart enough to know what to do with the euros in the purse Paras brings along. Roux pontificates at length on a variety of subjects. Eventually they go home with a boy who lives with his blind and deaf great-grandmother, Madame de Mornay. A rat named Kurt joins the circle and it is delightful to see how all of their lives are changed as a result of their fellowship with one another. Assorted neighborhood shopkeepers and others develop relationships with one of more of the band of animals, but no one puts two and two together. How long can they all remain under the radar? Until the root cellar is empty? As long as Madame de Mornay is still living? When does indecision cross the line to procrastination? The city of Paris is a character of her own in this story. If I had visited that iconic city in the past I do believe I would have been ready to give this book five stars. The cover alone is spectacular. Thinking of a horse taking naps inside a beautiful old house makes me smile so big. Smiley's ability to take us into the minds and hearts of the animals is a gift and reminds me of Meindert DeJong and Kate DiCamillo.


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