Parisian by Heart
(Kindle & Amazon)
In turns delightful, witty, clever and intriguing, Mari Mann’s novel “Parisian by Heart” reminded me of the absurd Kafka at times, and at other times, a modern magic realism novel. At the heart the novel, told in a first person voice, we meet a woman with a mystery to solve. She gazes through the looking glass of her past to uncover when she developed an obsession for everything Parisian. Even more fascinating, this character, Suzy dabbles in the metaphysical world, bringing up soul travel, lucid dreaming and past lives. However, I don’t want to give the entire story away.
Mari Mann structures her chapters after the tarot deck Major Arcana cards. Then she provides readers with a puzzle made up of tarot card themes, histories of famous literary and arts figures, not to mention a cameo appearance by Julia Childs who shows up in Suzy’s kitchen to whip up madeleines to go with a pot of tea. Suzy time travels with Marcel Proust that culminates in a surprise ending. She revisits her past lives and discovers the roots to her French obsession. Oh, and I must mention a side story under the heading, “The Wheel of Fortune” where condescending southern belles experience instant karma.
I chuckled several times reading this page-turner. Mari possesses dry humor similar to Rebecca Wells, while conjuring a literary witches brew similar to Sara Addison Allen, Alice Hoffman, or Joanne Harris. You can find this novel on Kindle and Amazon. It’s perfect as a bedtime story.