Pub Date: May 2017
Author: M. J. Moore
Floating in time between 2015 and 1944, this novel both celebrates and laments exalted hopes and broken dreams. The narrator is a sentient, unique, dying woman in hospice who “talks out” her memories via the cassette tapes that her favorite caregiver loyally provides.
The heart of her tale revolves around being in the Women’s Army Corps (the WACs) between 1943-1945, when she had two life-transforming encounters with a soldier named Jerry. They’re both products of their time, in love with MGM musicals and the great Swing Bands, and also much influenced by the best writers of their epoch.
We know “Jerry,” of course, as J. D. Salinger. But in this novel, we’re presented with a wartime, uniformed, pre-fame, pre-“Catcher” G. I. Salinger. And from their chance meeting in the fall of 1943 (when they witness a final stateside performance by Glenn Miller’s Army Air Force Band in New York) to a brief reunion in Liberated Paris in the waning days of August 1944 (where an older, exhausted Hemingway blesses the young, aspiring Salinger), our narrator conjures up the echoes of an era.
With her own life winding down during one season in hospice, the war years (and so much more) are always on her mind. This narrative is her testimonial, on behalf of her generation.
“In For Paris~with Love & Squalor we share not only the narrator’s memories, but also her passion for literature, for music, and for film; plus her insightful zest for life that leads to a love affair with one of the great authors of the 20th century. A smart and poignant journey through a life well-lived…at once lighthearted and bittersweet.”
—Kenneth Slawenski, internationally-bestselling author of J. D. Salinger: A Life
“The plucky heroine of this inventive novel may be paralyzed and dying, but her vibrant mind is a treasury of her generation’s politics and culture, especially its popular music. I found myself singing along with her on every page.”
—Hilma Wolitzer, New York Times bestselling author of An Available Man, Summer Reading, The Doctor’s Daughter, In the Flesh, and other novels
“M. J. Moore proves that not all compelling, worthwhile stories about WWII have yet been told or imagined…”
—Erica Heller, author of Yossarian Slept Here: When Joseph Heller Was Dad, The Apthorp Was Home, and Life Was a Catch-22