Hilary Reyl Lessons in French

ISBN 13: 9780007446261

Lessons in French

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9780007446261: Lessons in French

Paperback. Pub Date :2013-05-23 Pages: 352 Language: English A delicious coming-of-age tale set in the most romantic city on earth.On the cusp of the nineties just as the Berlin Wall is falling. Kate is about to pursue her dream and become an artist. But she's just graduated from Yale and when an intriguing job offer comes her way. to work as the assistant to Lydia Schell. a famous American photographer in Paris. she cannot say no. She will get to live in Paris again! And Kate has not been back to France since she was a lonely nine-year-old girl. sent to the outskirts of Paris to live with cousins ??while her father was dying.Kate may speak fluent French. but she arrives at the Schell household in the fashionable Sixth Arrondissement both dazzled and wildly impressionable. She is immediately engrossed in the creative fever of the city and surrounded by a seductive cast of ch...

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Review:

Guest Review of “Lesson in French”

By Paula McLain

Can you ever have enough Paris? Obviously not, and though Hilary Reyl’s engaging Lessons in French is set in 1989, nearly seventy years after Ernest and Hadley Hemingway caroused with their Bohemian set, Reyl’s layered, sumptuous and spot-on details had me ready to buy a ticket to her Paris from page one.

In many ways, Kate is any young woman trying to figure out who she is amid the push and pull of others, but her new assistantship with the wildly glamorous and neurotic photographer, Lydia Schell, adds considerable torque in both directions. So does Lydia’s impossibly dysfunctional family.

Granted, the trappings are delicious—a chambre de bonne in the chic sixth arrondissement, promised elbow rubbing with Umberto Eco and Salman Rushdie, and the satisfaction of being indispensable to Lydia and her loved ones. The reality is so much more draining and dicey. Nearly all of her pittance of a salary pays her rent, and Lydia expects not just the work Katie was hired to do, but dog walking, schlepping out for spring rolls and strange diet pills—oh, and blind gratitude and unquestioning loyalty to boot. But Lydia’s a genius, right, doing socially important work? And who is Katie to stand up to her?

Who is Katie becomes the question of the book, and the thing that keeps us turning pages. Her principal gift, she tells us early on, is to reflect others back beautifully, and we see that emotional mirroring over and over in her. In trying to please everyone, to be endlessly diplomatic and necessary and reliable, Kate gets blurrier and more disoriented. In completing others, she loses herself—and what will that malleability cost her, in the end?

I found Kate absolutely believable and familiar as a character (I know that girl, haven’t we all been that girl?) and that—coupled with the sublime setting—was a winning combination for me. Paris isn’t mere seasoning in this debut novel, but a seven-course meal.

Like her heroine, Hilary Reyl spent considerable time in the City of Light, and one has the feeling that the book is a labor of love for the author, a way of paying homage to what she herself gained and lost in Paris, and to immortalize that experience in story. This is a wonderful first novel. Savor it with crème-filled croissants and peach kir, and prepare to be transported.

About the Author:

Hilary Reyl has a PhD in French literature from NYU with a focus on the nineteenth century, and has spent several years working and studying in France. She lives in New York City with her family. Lessons in French is her first novel.

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A delicious coming-of-age tale set in the most romantic city on earth. On the cusp of the nineties just as the Berlin Wall is falling, Kate is about to pursue her dream and become an artist. But she s just graduated from Yale and when an intriguing job offer comes her way, to work as the assistant to Lydia Schell, a famous American photographer in Paris, she cannot say no. She will get to live in Paris again! And Kate has not been back to France since she was a lonely nine-year-old girl, sent to the outskirts of Paris to live with cousins while her father was dying. Kate may speak fluent French, but she arrives at the Schell household in the fashionable Sixth Arrondissement both dazzled and wildly impressionable. She is immediately engrossed in the creative fever of the city and surrounded by a seductive cast of characters. Amidst the glamorous, famous and pretentious circle that she now finds herself a part of Kate tries to fit in. But as she falls in love with Paris all over again, she begins to question the kindness of the people to whom she is so drawn as well as her own motives for wanting them to love her. A compelling and delightful portrait of a precocious, ambitious young woman struggling to define herself in a city a million miles from home amidst a new life that is spiralling out of control. Lessons in French is at once a love letter to Paris and the story of a young woman finding herself, her moral compass, and, finally, her true family. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007446261

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A delicious coming-of-age tale set in the most romantic city on earth.On the cusp of the nineties just as the Berlin Wall is falling, Kate is about to pursue her dream and become an artist. But she s just graduated from Yale and when an intriguing job offer comes her way, to work as the assistant to Lydia Schell, a famous American photographer in Paris, she cannot say no. She will get to live in Paris again! And Kate has not been back to France since she was a lonely nine-year-old girl, sent to the outskirts of Paris to live with cousins while her father was dying.Kate may speak fluent French, but she arrives at the Schell household in the fashionable Sixth Arrondissement both dazzled and wildly impressionable. She is immediately engrossed in the creative fever of the city and surrounded by a seductive cast of characters. Amidst the glamorous, famous and pretentious circle that she now finds herself a part of Kate tries to fit in. But as she falls in love with Paris all over again, she begins to question the kindness of the people to whom she is so drawn as well as her own motives for wanting them to love her.A compelling and delightful portrait of a precocious, ambitious young woman struggling to define herself in a city a million miles from home amidst a new life that is spiralling out of control. Lessons in French is at once a love letter to Paris and the story of a young woman finding herself, her moral compass, and, finally, her true family. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007446261

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Lessons in French, Hilary Reyl, A delicious coming-of-age tale set in the most romantic city on earth. On the cusp of the nineties just as the Berlin Wall is falling, Kate is about to pursue her dream and become an artist. But she's just graduated from Yale and when an intriguing job offer comes her way, to work as the assistant to Lydia Schell, a famous American photographer in Paris, she cannot say no. She will get to live in Paris again! And Kate has not been back to France since she was a lonely nine-year-old girl, sent to the outskirts of Paris to live with cousins while her father was dying. Kate may speak fluent French, but she arrives at the Schell household in the fashionable Sixth Arrondissement both dazzled and wildly impressionable. She is immediately engrossed in the creative fever of the city and surrounded by a seductive cast of characters. Amidst the glamorous, famous and pretentious circle that she now finds herself a part of Kate tries to fit in. But as she falls in love with Paris all over again, she begins to question the kindness of the people to whom she is so drawn as well as her own motives for wanting them to love her. A compelling and delightful portrait of a precocious, ambitious young woman struggling to define herself in a city a million miles from home amidst a new life that is spiralling out of control. Lessons in French is at once a love letter to Paris and the story of a young woman finding herself, her moral compass, and, finally, her true family. Bookseller Inventory # B9780007446261

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