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Coral Gables novelist Mamta Chaudhry discusses ‘Haunting Paris’ at Books & Books

Written By Melina De Rose
June 19, 2019 at 7:46 PM

For the characters in “Haunting Paris,” the debut novel by Mamta Chaudhry of Coral Gables, there is no such thing as the distant past. This is certainly true for Julien Dalsace, the deceased doctor who narrates much of the story and who finds himself existing in a state of “doubleness” that blurs “the lines between then and now into a continuous present.” He is, of course, a ghost, but Julien is far from the only being unable to let go of his previous life in the book Chaudhry will discuss Thursday, June 20, at Books & Books in Coral Gables.

Set in 1989 during the bicentennial celebrations of the French Revolution, “Haunting Paris” follows Julien through the streets of the city as he reflects on his 30-year relationship with Sylvie, a piano teacher who has been paralyzed by grief since her partner’s death, and on the murder of his sister, Clara, by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Chaudhry embeds a mystery within this moving and gracefully written novel when Sylvie discovers a sealed envelope and a checkbook in a “secret drawer” of Julien’s desk. Sylvie’s hesitant investigation into the meaning of these items will, Julien hopes, lead to “a reckoning with the past, a reckoning that offers consolations for the present, cautions for the future.” 

At Books & Books, Chaudhry will be introduced by Miami novelist and memoirist Edwidge Danticat and joined in conversation by novelist Debra Dean, a teacher in the MFA creative-writing program at Florida International University. “Haunting Paris” was published this week by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday. The event begins 8 p.m. Thursday at 265 Aragon Ave., in Coral Gables. Call 305-442-4408 or go to BooksAndBooks.com. 

Image courtesy Nan A. Talese/Doubleday.

Photo of Mamta Chaudhry courtesy Daniel Fryer.

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