Paris by the Book

Liam Callanan

Thursday, July 11, at 7:00 PM
Discussion led by Karen Esvang
Board Room

Refreshments provided by Menomonee Falls Library Friends.

Copies of the book are available at the 2nd Floor Information Desk.


A missing person, a grieving family, a curious clue: a half-finished manuscript set in Paris.

Once a week, I chase men who are not my husband. . . .

When eccentric novelist Robert Eady abruptly vanishes, he leaves behind his wife, Leah, their daughters, and, hidden in an unexpected spot, plane tickets to Paris.

Hoping to uncover clues—and her husband—Leah sets off for France with her girls. Upon their arrival, she discovers an unfinished manuscript, one Robert had been writing without her knowledge . . . and that he had set in Paris. The Eady girls follow the path of the manuscript to a small, floundering English-language bookstore whose weary proprietor is eager to sell. Leah finds herself accepting the offer on the spot.

As the family settles into their new Parisian life, they trace the literary paths of some beloved Parisian classics, including Madeline and The Red Balloon, hoping more clues arise. But a series of startling discoveries forces Leah to consider that she may not be ready for what solving this mystery might do to her family—and the Paris she thought she knew.

Charming, haunting, and triumphant, Paris by the Book follows one woman’s journey as she writes her own story, exploring the power of family and the magic that hides within the pages of a book. – (Penguin Putnam)

Praise for Paris by the Book

“Callanan has woven a tale of grief, resentment, and the everyday madness of equivocating the unfathomable. … Callanan’s sweet and compulsively readable tale invites readers to fall in love with Paris, Leah, and her family.” —Biz Hyzy, Booklist

“Liam Callanan’s new novel is charming and full of fabled accordion music and wonderfully Márquezian magic—and best of all, it’s told by a narrator I came to love, whose funny, honest, wryly snarky voice drew me in from the first line.” — Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will

“This charming and poignant novel made me fall in love with Paris and all things French. Oh, to own a bookstore in any arrondissement! Within this love story there are reflections on the mystery of writing, the solace of reading, the ties that bind and those that don’t, plus the joy of The Red Balloon, to name but a few of the pleasures of Paris by the Book.” — Jane Hamilton, author of The Excellent Lombards and A Map Of The World

“Liam Callanan’s Paris by the Book is much more than an elegiac portrait of an artist who has vanished. Here we witness the sacrifices and yearnings of the ones left behind as they continue to love, live, and flourish. Like James Salter’s Light Years, Callanan depicts the once seemingly simple conditions of a young marriage and what it takes to let such conditions go.” — Min Jin Lee, author of National Book Award finalist Pachinko

This is both a haunting literary mystery and a multifaceted love story of husbands gone missing, of daughters left behind, of starting over, of books, and finally, of Paris. I love, love this novel.— Caroline Leavitt, author of Cruel Beautiful World

In Paris By the Book the marvelously gifted Liam Callanan tells a spellbinding story of reading and writing, romance and marriage, French frozen food and a small bookshop. I loved walking the streets of Marais with his eloquent narrator. And I loved how Callanan simultaneously reveals the history of her marriage and of her adopted city. Open a bottle of wine, open this wise and wonderful book, and enjoy. — Margot Livesey, author of Mercury and The Flight of Gemma Hardy

“The setting, a bookshop in Paris, intrigued me. The first line hooked me. While some aspects of this tale are reminiscent of Little Paris Bookshop the larger story of a family searching for the missing Father is so much more. Beautifully written, it questions the nature of parenting, marriage and what we tell ourselves about love. But too, there is the bookstore and the mystery of connection and truth that books offer. Wonderful! Summary: Highly Recommending.” — Kathi Kirby, Powell’s Books (Portland, OR)

I’d of course compare Callanan’s engrossing third novel to The Storied Life of AJ Fikry and The Little Paris Bookshop, but with its confounding but ultimately lovable heroine, there’s a bit of Where’d You Go Bernadette? in the story as well. Paris by the Book is filled with rich characters, a twisty plot, a bit of mystery, and a heaping dollop of joie de vivre.— Daniel Goldin, Boswell Books (Milwaukee, WI)

Upcoming Book Discussions

Let’s Talk Books!

Do you like talking about books? So do we! Bring the book you’re reading right now, or one you’ve loved (or hated!) in the past. We’ll have a fun night of discussion and drinks. (Must be 21 to attend). Food and beverages available for purchase. No purchase necessary.

Where: The Main Mill, N88 W16521 Main Street, Menomonee Falls, WI 53051

  • Tuesday, June 18, at 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday, July 16, at 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday, August 20, at 7:00 PM

Just the Facts: Non-Fiction Book Club

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