Sunday, September 15, 2019

Paris, 7 a.m., by Liza Wieland. Simon & Schuster, 2019

In 1937, two years after graduating from Vassar, Elizabeth Bishop went with some college friends to France. During this time, there was a three week stretch in time where she did not write in her life-long journal. Wieland has taken a look back and imagined what might have happened in that time. She and her friends move around and end up in Paris. Bishop tries to write. An artist friend has a tragic accident. She meets other artists and writers, including Natalie Barney. She falls for a woman who is not available to her. An older woman takes her on as a replacement for her deceased daughter- and as an aide in saving Jews from the invading Nazis.

Even though I realize this is a well written book, it really didn’t draw me in. It’s written in the third person present tense, which I found a bit off putting. Besides that, I was never pulled into the story, and never took to any of the characters. Wieland’s writing has a dreamy quality, like watching the story through a veil of chiffon. I can only give it three stars.

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