I had planned to post about another Paris novel today, but didn't finish it, because my fellow opera fan broke her arm playing soccer last night. In honor of her, then, I'll post about one of her favorite Paris books, THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET. A sensation when it first came out, it still is some 11 years after its debut. The story of young Hugo, who lives behind the scenes of a glorious Paris train station long lost to history (Gare Montparnasse--the new one in no way resembles the old), it's part comic strip, part novel, but all art. Almost as fun as reading it is watching someone else read it--you can see, in real time, the spell his pages cast.
When my family and I visited Paris a few years back, this was one of the books we "mapped". If you'd like to see the results of our map (and our other Paris children's literature maps), they're all collected on this part of the website. As with Madeline's "old house in Paris covered with vines," the magnificent clock at the heart of Hugo doesn't exactly exist -- but with enough imagination, the one at the Musée d'Orsay will more than do. Bon voyage!