Interview: Author ‘Liam Callanan’ Talks His New Book Paris By The Book

Liam is the winner of the 2017 George W. Hunt, SJ Prize in Arts, Letters & Journalism. He’s the author of The Cloud Atlas (Delacorte, 2004; Dial, 2005), All Saints (Delacorte, 2007; Dial, 2008), Listen (Four Way, 2015), and the forthcoming Paris by the Book (Dutton, 2018); his work has been or will be translated into Chinese, German, Italian, and Japanese.

He serves in the English department of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and was previously its chair, as well as coordinator of its Ph.D. program in creative writing. He has regularly contributed to local and national public radio, and is possibly the only person now living (but consult your own Venn diagram) who has written for all of the following: the Wall Street Journal (on zeppelins, jetpacks, and touring Paris and Greece with children’s books), The Awl, Medium, Commonweal, Esquire.com (on swimming and flying), Slate, the New York Times Book Review, the Times op-ed page, the Washington Post Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes FYI, Good Housekeeping, Parents, Milwaukee Magazine, Brain,Child and elsewhere. Check out his website here.

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 women follow the path of the manuscript to a small, floundering English-language bookstore whose weary proprietor is eager to sell. The whole store? Today? Yes, but Leah’s biggest surprise comes when she hears herself accepting the offer on the spot.

As the family settles into their new Parisian life, they can’t help but 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.

At once haunting and charming, Paris by the Book follows one woman’s journey as her story is being rewritten, exploring the power of family and the magic that hides within the pages of a book.

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