Book Reviews | February 2011 | Jeremy Dibbell

Book Review: "13, rue Thérèse"

Elena Mauli Shapiro's 13, rue Thérèse (Reagan Arthur, 2011) is a beautifully-designed meta-narrative about an American academic in Paris who "discovers" in his office file cabinet a box containing a small archive of family photos, letters, and personal artifacts from the early decades of the 20th century. As he works his way through the box he finds himself becoming more and more intertwined with the original owners of the items within, and also developing a strange connection with his secretary (whom, we learn very quickly, had in fact planted the box for him to find).

While the threads of the story itself didn't happen to be all that interesting to me, I found Stratton's process of delving into the box and discovering its various component pieces very intriguing, and the way Shapiro has integrated illustrations and typographical decorations into the text is nicely done indeed.

Worth a read just for the design, honestly.

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