Paris In July 2022 with Perestroika in Paris (“Paris beat all for strange goings-on, and who was he to deny that?”)

Twilight was descending over the vast green expanse of Auteuil Racecourse. The jumps had dimmed into dark shapes against the still vivid green grass. Admiring this, Paras did something that she often did – she pressed against the door of the stall, and this time something happened that had never happened before – it swung open. After a moment, Paras stepped carefully out onto the fine, crunchy gravel and snorted…Paras was a very curious filly.

Perestroika in Paris

I love a well written book with animals. Consider Charlotte’s Web, Pinocchio, and The Wind in The Willows. These creatures have shown me what it is to be brave, or adventurous, or even foolish.

While I was reading Perestroika in Paris, I thought about how delightful it would be to read it to my class. Really, it is such a charming, light-hearted tale of a racehorse, a retriever, and a raven who live in Paris, forming a trio of friendship in some ways similar to The Three Musketeers. They forge their own way, independent and resourceful. They show me Paris through their eyes.

They have taken me, again, to the Champ de Mars, the Place de Chaillot, the Place du Trocadero, and the Tour Eiffel. Their observations of these famous landmarks, and more, are fresh as well as often amusing. Raoul, the raven, has this opinion about the Tour Eiffel:

Raoul was sitting on one of the struts of the great Tour, useless, as far as Raoul could see, to humans, but a wonderful convenience for Aves…

When a young boy, named Etienne, observes Paras from his grandmother’s home where he lives, he invites her in. His grandmother is blind, and deaf, and somehow doesn’t seem to notice (or care about?) the presence of a horse in her salon. Using his own ingenuity, Etienne gains the aid of a butcher, a baker, and a gardener to help keep his secret.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this impossible tale, for while noting that it could not happen in actuality, I was hoping deep down that it would.

(I read this book for 20 Books of Summer 2022, as well as Paris in July 2022. I am now beginning Paris by Edward Rutherford, and it is merveilleux.

13 thoughts on “Paris In July 2022 with Perestroika in Paris (“Paris beat all for strange goings-on, and who was he to deny that?”)”

    1. It is really a charming fairy tale; I had noticed the cover, too, and picked it up because of Jane Smiley’s illustrious career. But, also because it fits so nicely with Paris in July!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’ve read books by Jane Smiley that I liked and some that I didn’t like. This sounds amusing and light.

    best… mae at


  2. What an interesting selection, Bellezza! Never thought of doing Paris in July with animals. 🙂 Looking forward to your future posts. I wrote a review on the book Mastering the Art of French Eating. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would love to know more about French eating! All I know so far is that it’s delicious, and the portions are so much smaller than American (which is a good thing!).


  3. M, I’d seen this book around and was always interested, but never managed to actually grab a copy to read. Now, after reading your lovely post I am most definitely planning on grabbing a copy ASAP. I loved your words. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s quick and light, Nadia, and ends with hope which is a lovely thing to hold on to these days. I’ve read that it was especially well received in the dark days of 2020 when it was published.


  4. I know what you mean, Annabel. It was charming, to the point of unrealistic in a fairy tale vein. That was the way I read it, needing a light take after some surgery I’d had on my foot, but surely I can see where it would be tiresome after a certain point. And, books with perfect endings, have a semi-sweet effect on me. I’m glad it all worked out, but what in life does?


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