Paris, 1989: Alone in her luminous apartment on Île Saint-Louis, Sylvie discovers a mysterious letter among her late lover Julien’s possessions, launching her into a decades-old search for a child who vanished in the turbulence of the Second World War. She is unaware that she is watched over by Julien’s ghost, his love for her powerful enough to draw him back to this world, though doomed now to remain a silent observer. Sylvie’s quest leads her deep into the secrets of Julien’s past, shedding new light on the dark days of Nazi-occupied Paris. A timeless story of love and loss, Haunting Paris matches emotional intensity with lyrical storytelling to explore grief, family secrets, and the undeniable power of memory.
About the Author
Mamta Chaudhry’s fiction, poetry, and feature articles have been published in the Miami Review, The Illustrated Weekly of India, The Telegraph, The Statesman, Writer’s Digest, and The Rotarian, among other publications. She lives with her husband in Coral Gables, Florida, and they spend part of each year in India and France. Haunting Paris is her first novel. www.mamtachaudhry.com
“Elegantly wrought.” --New York Times Book Review
"This is a powerful and moving first novel. Reading it, I thought of Patrick Modiano and W. G. Sebald, master novelists similarly haunted by the horrors of WW II and the occupation of France. It’s audaciously, imaginatively constructed, with a heartbreaking, profoundly adult love story at its center."
--Russell Banks, author of Cloudsplitter and Continental Drift
"Haunting Paris explores dark questions--loss, grief, unforgiveable crimes--but the novel itself is full of light and life and beauty. All the characters, even Coco the dog, seem touched with grace as Mamta Chaudhry tells her absorbing story. A wonderful debut."
--Margot Livesey, New York Times bestselling author of Mercury and The Flight of Gemma Hardy
"Haunting Paris is not only a love letter to the Paris of birdcage elevators and wrought iron peacocks but also a submersion into one of that city’s darkest periods, a visceral account of the quotidian labor of living with absence, and a reminder of the myriad ways in which we encounter voices from beyond the grave. Mamta Chaudhry’s novel is wonderfully moving."
--Jim Shepard, author of The Book of Aron and The World to Come
"Through pianist Sylvie and the flâneur ghost of Julien, Haunting Paris connects the living with our past. This extraordinary debut truly is haunting."
--Meg Waite Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Race for Paris
"Chaudhry deftly portrays how a place can hold so much beauty and tragedy all at the same time."
––Jewish Book Council
"Haunting Paris is an extraordinarily beautiful novel about one of the ugliest events ever to take place in French history . . . Chaudhry is a graceful, elegant writer."
"Like all fine fiction it is in its unfolding that Haunting Paris captivates. . . . The city seems almost a character in itself, and Chaudhry’s evocation of Paris is superb. Her ability to render telling details and convey the sights, sounds, and the very texture of life puts the reader at its center. . . . an absorbing must-read."
". . . poetic . . . Mamta Chaudhry grounds her romantic tale and evocative language with details that are sharply realistic, usually about everyday Parisian life. . . . Best of all are the scenes when Julien seems to time travel, visiting a group of washerwomen in 1889, and witnessing the murder of King Henri IV in 1610."
--New York Journal of Books
"The start to the story is more than enough to keep me riveted all the way to the end."
--KWBU, NPR affiliate in Waco, TX
"Haunting Paris is a graceful debut from Chaudhry . . . revealing a finely textured world where grief and love commingle. Julien’s spirit travels across time but keeps careful vigil over Sylvie, their separate paths nonetheless a powerful testament to the enduring strength of the bonds we form in life."
"[A] story of unresolved anguish and late love. Chaudhry's elegant debut . . . might well touch a popular nerve."
"Chaudhry’s debut is a heart-wrenching love letter to Paris"
"Mamta Chaudhry writes a love letter to Paris that is luminous and languid . . . a quiet story that is nonetheless intense on emotion."
--Historical Novel Society