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Perestroika in Paris

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  1,291 ratings  ·  250 reviews
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Thousand Acres and the New York Times best-selling Last Hundred Years Trilogy, a captivating, brilliantly imaginative story of three extraordinary animals--and a young boy--whose lives intersect in Paris

Paras, short for "Perestroika," is a spirited racehorse at a racetrack west of Paris. One afternoon at dusk, she finds the door
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published December 1st 2020 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Lana 62 years old. My first book I’ve read in many years.
Carolyn I think this book can be read by anyone age 11 and older. It would also make a great read aloud for the family or as a continuing bedtime story.

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Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,291 ratings  ·  250 reviews

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Dec 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Jane Smiley opened my mind about horses and their personalities. I continue to feel that her novel “Horse Heaven” is one of my all-time favorites. For me, that novel is a 10-star novel.

So, upon seeing her newly released novel, “Perestroika in Paris” which is also about a horse, I immediately pre-purchased it. What Smiley does perfectly is write about the minds and personalities of horses, and in this case, many animals. For those of you who have noticed birds yapping away before they fly south f
vicki honeyman
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's been many years since author Jane Smiley, whose 1991 Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award bestseller "A Thousand Acres," has been in my book radar. What a Big Treat it was to discover that not only has Jane Smiley published a new novel to share with her fan base, she's written a story with delightfully unique voices who have a timely message to share with the world. From page one and through the last page, I found myself utterly hooked, falling head over heels in love with ...more
Richard Seltzer
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A horse, a dog, a raven, a pair of mallards, and a pair of rats survive and thrive on their own in downtown Paris. All of them can talk to and understand one another. All of them can understand what people say. But people can't understand them. Their view of the world is childlike and naive. They muddle along thanks to good luck and the sympathetic good will of the people they encounter, especially an eight-year-old boy.

This isn't an allegory or a fable, like Aesop, Animal Farm, or Watership Do
Talking animals book for adults? Okay...

That was my initial thought. But because I have a friend who is an absolute horse-lover I got her this book. She also enjoys cozy, and whimsical reads so maybe Perestroika in Paris would be a good book ...
Later I saw this on our library overdrive and decided to borrow it and yup, this is such a great story of friendship through differences. Charming with Paris setting and uplifting. It's a wonderful read especially during this time of year. I can see chil
Erin Glover
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel made me feel like a child reading a fairy tale, in a good way. To enjoy it, you'll need to suspend all disbelief. It reminds me of Dr. Doolittle. If you're looking for some nice light reading where animals talk and 8-year-old boys can take care of themselves, this book is for you. If a dog carrying a purse with money into a grocer's and buying food seems too far-fetched, you're better off skipping this one. ...more
Yes, this is a talking animal book, but the animals only talk to each other; they communicate with humans through their gestures and soulful eyes. Kindly shopkeepers work out what Frida wants to buy based on what she stares at or points to with a paw; the baker whose window Paras passes on her early morning walks intuits that the horse is hungry; Etienne, who gives a couple of the stray animals a home during a chill winter, learns to understand when Paras needs to go out to relieve herself, afte ...more
Nov 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
Perestroika (Paras for short) discovers an unlatched stall and ventures out to find out if the grass really is greener in other parts of Paris. She meanders into a park near the Eiffel Tower and her period of freedom begins. Along with her are Frida (a dog), Roux (a raven), and Sid and Nancy (the Mallard couple). Frida is smart enough to know what to do with the euros in the purse Paras brings along. Roux pontificates at length on a variety of subjects. Eventually they go home with a boy who liv ...more
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I feel this fantasy is destined to become a classic. A French racehorse, Perestroika, aka Paras, curious to see the outside world, leaves her stall and escapes to Paris, where she lives for a time, becoming friends with critters [Frida, a dog who instructs the naïve horse about life in the outside world; a bossy though well-meaning raven, Raoul; a duck couple raising a family; Kurt, a rat pining for a mate;] and sympathetic humans, including Etienne, an 8- year-old boy and his nearly 100-year-ol ...more
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a delightful book and such a pleasure to read something so positive and uplifting. I'm passing it on to my 10-year-old grandson as it's a book for all ages. Most highly recommended. ...more
Mary Camille Thomas
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m suspicious of adult novels written from an animal’s point of view, but I trust Jane Smiley, and I admit, I was charmed by the cover, so I gave Perestroika in Paris a try and loved it. It is the story of a curious filly named Paras, short for Perestroika, who slips out of her open stall one autumn afternoon after winning a race at Auteil Racecourse and ventures into Paris. She takes up residence in the Champs de Mars near the Eiffel Tower and makes friends with a stray German shorthair named ...more
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-titles, fiction
ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A marvelous, fantastical read, Perestroika in Paris needs to become an instant classic. This book has, by leaps and bounds, surpassed anything else I have read so far this year!

I've never read a Jane Smiley novel, but I am so glad I was able to get my hands on this one. A fun, magical, wholesome story about a very special bond between an old woman, a young boy, and the animals he befriends.

Perestroika - Paras, for s
Nov 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Charming, but my heart still belongs to Justa Bob.
Jul 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Jane Smiley has a knack for expressing the feelings of animals, and "Perestroika in Paris" is a magical canter through Paris. It's not just the curious Perestroika, a filly living at a racetrack, but a dog, a raven, two ducks and a couple of handsome black rats who go along for the ride. Did I mention that Peres takes along a groom's purse as she leaves the stable? Her trainer, owner, and groom are all women and the filly has seen how they always carry these bags with them. This one turns out to ...more
Dec 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: publisher-sent
Jane Smiley's Perestroika in Paris was an easy reading, charming book, but for many pages I wondered what was the 'point'? Every book that gives animals human thought and language has a point, right?

Sure, Paras (short for Perestroika) is a wonderful character, a filly too curious for her own good, who leaves the comforts of her home at the stable and the horse racing she loves to see the world--or, at least, Paris under the Eiffel Tower.

Then there is Frida, the German Shorthaired Pointer ticked
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
An unlatched stable door is too good to be true for Perestroika, a very curious horse. She quickly absconds to canter along the streets of Paris. Along the way she encounters many an odd character; a streetwise dog named Frida, as well as Raoul, the Latin lingo edition raven, and they become a blended family of sorts with a mallard-duo known by way of Sid and Nancy. Ere long our troupe encounters a range of a humanity; a lonely young boy, Etienne, and an oat serving lady named, Anaias. Perestroi ...more
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the perfect book to help you escape the world today. Delightful story with lovable and charming characters-an adventurous racehorse, a lonely dog, a know-it-all raven, a pair of ducks, and a couple of rats as well. I loved how the animals interacted with each other and with the compassionate humans they encountered in Paris. I think of it as "Charlotte's Web" for grown ups, but no spiders die. Older children might enjoy the story as well. Definitely one of my favorites read in 2020. Than ...more
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
A horse, a dog, a crow, a rat, and some ducks, too. I throughly enjoyed their romp though Paris and I found myself wishing I had a grandchild to read this aloud to.
Dec 10, 2020 rated it liked it
I have been wanting this book since the minute I saw it advertised. I am a HUGE fan of Jane Smiley's Horse Heaven (10 stars), and she knows horses, and this premise sounded so delightful. I got hold of the book the MINUTE my library put it out (Dec 9). I'm sorry to say that I was disappointed in it. I was hoping for magic and charm and humor, and largely, it was missing. It was mechanical, the horse did this and then she did this and then the dog did this....At 1/3 I was feeling so disappointed ...more
Mid-Continent Public Library
Perestroika (Paras for short) discovers an unlatched stall and ventures out to find out if the grass really is greener in other parts of Paris. She meanders into a park near the Eiffel Tower and her period of freedom begins. Along with her are Frida (a dog), Roux (a raven), and Sid and Nancy (the Mallard couple). Frida is smart enough to know what to do with the euros in the purse Paras brings along. Roux pontificates at length on a variety of subjects. Eventually they go home with a boy who liv ...more
Lain | onceuponanattorney
Nov 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 ⭐️ for Perestroika in Paris

Synopsis: From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Jane Smiley, comes a novel about extraordinary animals whose lives intersect with a young boy in Paris. When Paras, short for "Perestroika," curiously wonders out of her horse stall into the City of Light, her world is turned upside down. She meets Frida, a German shorthaired pointer, who recently lost her “person,” and has been forced to learn to get by without attracting the attention of suspicious Parisians. The tw
Michelle Abramson
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A sweet tale by a great writer about a horse, a dog, a raven, and a child that takes place in Paris. What else do you need in times like these?
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Dec 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, equifiction
This novel was a lovely follow-up for fans of Smiley's previous Horse Heaven. This is a very different type of story, being told from the point of view of the non-human characters. Obviously this isn't for everyone; but we literary horse-girls are celebrating.

Who are the horse girls? You might remember one of us from childhood. We were the girls who didn't want to play with dolls or miniature kitchens, the objects of our nurturing instincts walked on four legs. We also weren't fond of playing ba
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Sweet story of friends who look out for each other... they happen to be a racehorse, dog, raven, rat, ducks and an 8 year old boy. I especially enjoyed the interaction with human characters — the shopkeeper, baker, park caretaker — who radiate true kindness. Smiley's writing, for all ages, doesn't disappoint. ...more
Dec 10, 2020 rated it liked it
With a sweet bedtime-story quality, this is a nice way to understand there are many ways to be a family and many special parts that make it whole.
Dec 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This one goes on the all times favorite list and is definitely one of, if not, my favorite book of the year. As I thought to myself, even before I saw practically the same words in NPR’s review, this book is balm for these times. It truly is special.
Dec 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
A sweet and fun novel, beautifully written.
Dec 30, 2020 rated it liked it
horse book

cannot believe this is by the same person who did a thousand acres
I was expecting warm-fuzzy; I wasn't expecting it to feel like a children's book. DNF @ 42%. ...more
Oct 09, 2020 rated it liked it
I received an electronic ARC from Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group through NetGalley.
A delightful cast of characters let readers into their world. The story begins with a race horse who escapes from her stall and ventures off - winding up in Paris. There, Perestroika (Paras) meets Frida, a dog, Raoul, a raven, Sid and Nancy, mallards, and eventually Kurt, a black rat. Along the way, they encounter various humans who provide food and unwittingly help them stay hidden. One young boy, Etienne, who
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Jane Smiley is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Smiley grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, and graduated from John Burroughs School. She obtained a A.B. at Vassar College, then earned a M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. While working towards her doctorate, she also spent a year studying in Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar

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