In a strangely distorted Paris, a Japanese adoptee is haunted by the woman he once loved
When Fumiko emerges after one month locked in her dorm room, she’s already dead, leaving a half-smoked Marlboro Light and a cupboard of petrified food in her wake. For her boyfriend, Henrik Blatand, an aspiring translator, these remnants are like clues, propelling him forward in a search for meaning. Meanwhile, Fumiko, or perhaps her doppelgänger, reappears: in line at the Louvre, on street corners and subway platforms, and on the dissection table of a group of medical students.
Henrik’s inquiry expands beyond Fumiko’s seclusion and death, across the absurd, entropic streets of Paris and the figures that wander them, from a jaded group of Korean expats, to an eccentric French widow, to the indelible woman whom Henrik finds sitting in his place on a train. It drives him into the shadowy corners of his past, where his adoptive Danish parents raised him in a house without mirrors. And it mounts to a charged intimacy shared with his best friend’s precocious daughter, who may be haunted herself.
David Hoon Kim’s debut is a transgressive, darkly comic novel of becoming lost and found in translation. With each successive, echoic chapter, Paris Is a Party, Paris Is a Ghost plunges us more deeply beneath the surface of things, to the displacement, exile, grief, and desire that hide in plain sight.
Praise for Paris Is a Party, Paris Is a Ghost
“The kind of book that holds you in a dream as you read it, intricate and frictionless and always marvelous. David Hoon Kim in his deep understanding of the strangeness of human experience and the connective bands between past, present, and future, belongs in the same company as writers like Emily St. John Mandel and Lauren Groff.”
—Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
“An elegant book, shot through with eeriness and intelligence. A genuinely spooky, strange, and compulsive read, like walking through a cemetery and reading the tombstones while the eyes of crows watch your back.”
—Namwali Serpell, author of The Old Drift