The Paris Years of Rosie Kamin

I love to read books about Paris. I own many: nonfiction books, fiction books, classics and coffee table books.  I just finished reading a novel, The Paris Years of Rosie Kamin by Richard Telecky. Rosie is living in Paris to escape her Jewish-American family life.  She shares a small and dark apartment with her lover Serge in a neighbourhood of immigrants. Richard Telecky's strongpoint in this novel is description. Through the use of detail, he creates a quartier that appeals to the reader's senses. Rosie's neighbourhood is filled with the tastes and smells of North Africa and the Middle East.

There are many loose ends in Rosie's life which begins to show signs of unravelling with the illness of her partner. She had been unaware of her mother's unhappiness which led to suicide. Her sister describes the entire Kamin family as dead. She is ambivalent when visited by an old lover and only slightly disturbed by memories of an earlier abortion. She has no insight into her closest friends' lives.  The climax of the novel is when Rosie realizes that she did not even know that Serge, her partner, had suffered an earlier breakdown and was dying of liver failure.

This is not a novel of Paris "The City of Light" but of a dark grey Paris of squatters, purse snatchers and dog shit. As Rosie, the refugee living in a neighbourhood of immigrants, develops more self-awareness, she connects more closely with those around her and realizes that she really is home.