The Paris Years of Rosie Kamin

Paris Years 1

The Paris Years of Rosie Kamin takes the reader far into a Paris world seldom visited in literature to tell a poignant tale of love and loss and deliverance. “Rosie does not inhabit a Paris of romantic extravagance,” wrote the Washington Post, “she lives in ‘an apartment the size of a postage stamp’ and ekes out a living teaching English at the Continental Language School. An immigrant among immigrants, she haunts the streets of the nineteenth arrondissement, where Algerians and Africans, Vietnamese and Cambodians mingled with the French…What lingers in this fine debut novel is Rosie herself.”

Rosie, a forty-year-old American from Pittsburgh, fled her extended family and her critical, demanding father not long after her mother, an Auschwitz survivor, committed suicide. Having lived in Paris for nearly twenty years as the novel opens, Rosie begins to reflect on her early years in the city, and to examine patterns of escapism and denial in her life. It is with the arrival of her eccentric sister Deb from America, and after a trip to Budapest to search for their mother’s childhood home, that Rosie begins to face and understand her legacy.


Winner of the Ribalow Prize for the best novel of 1999, the 1998 Vermont Book of the Year Award, and named one of 1998’s best books by The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Toronto Star.

Praise for The Paris Years of Rosie Kamin

“Richard Teleky’s direct, sensuous prose captures not only the texture of a Paris that tourists do not see; it also conveys, through a wealth of quotidian detail, the subtle flickering of Rosie’s character…an endeavor of considerable ambition…What lingers of this fine debut novel is Rosie Kamin herself. She may waver in the face of adversity but she is – at the last, unlike her lost mother, a survivor.”
– Claire Messud, The Washington Post and The Guardian Weekly

“Engaging, bittersweet first novel…With a sharp eye for the details of the milieu his heroine inhabits and a sympathetic understanding of her moods and emotions. Teleky skillfully evokes the feel of Rosie’s world…Rosie is a character who rings true.”
– Merle Rubin, The Christian Science Monitor

“Thank goodness Richard Teleky has a sense of humor. Without it, his first novel, about an American expatriate being brushed by her life in a stunningly unromantic Paris, might be too painful to read. As it is, though, he’s crafted a poignantly sad but still witty portrait of a woman in mid-life…It is a rare novel these days that offers such a characterization and at the same time avoids nihilism. It is to be cherished.”
– David B. Green, The Jerusalem Report

“A thoughtful, compassionate psychological novel…Teleky’s characters are mature, they do not indulge in recriminations and dramatic tirades…The story is basically about finding serenity. Small-scaled and intimate, its cameos of backstairs Paris have a frowsy sparkle.”
– Robert Taylor, The Boston Globe

“Simply written, carefully observed and never melodramatic…Rosie Kamin makes a poignant case for finding a place for the past in one’s present life.”

– Michael Frank, The Los Angeles Times

“A tender and insightful first novel…a compelling view of a young American Jew in Paris…The full measure of Rosie’s suffering and estrangement is exquisitely conveyed, together with gemlike scenes of Paris life on the fringe; her story is a small but remarkable triumph.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A powerful, poignant novel rooted in the multicultural Paris of today.”
– Carlin Romano, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“A remarkable novel…The sharpness of the prose and the teasing quality of the characters is one reason that the novel, despite its somber theme, is very readable. Nothing clutters the narrative, nothing holds back its assured pace.”
– Philip Marchand, The Toronto Star

“An offbeat character readers can care about.”
– Ellen Jaffe-Gill, The Baltimore Jewish Times

The Paris Years of Rosie Kamin is set in a Paris no guide books cover. This is his first novel, and it is a success, an evocative meditation on love, suffering, and the weight of history.”
– Scott Steedman, The Paris Free Voice

“The author deftly elicits sympathy and empathy for those too meek and terrified to feel it for themselves…Teleky captures both the liveliness and lunacy of Americans abroad.”
– Amy Friedman Fraser, The Globe and Mail

“Teleky offers a politically charged view of Paris seldom encountered by tourists, and he paints a swirling canvas of immigrant neighborhood life.”
Publishers Weekly

“A fine title character who by the ends seems to have a real interiority, a real fictional life..It is a fine first novel, and it makes Teleky’s second attempt a welcome prospect.”
– Adam Kirsch, The Boston Phoenix

“Unhurried, complex, self-assured, the qualities of Richard Teleky’s first novel shine through the Paris penumbra from the very first page.”
– Jennifer Potter, TLS

The Paris Years of Rosie Kamin is a hushed marvel of fiction. Pensive and intelligent, Teleky manages large themes with deceptively small focus.”

“A beautifully written first novel…Teleky draws his characters with compassion, precision, and, at times, deliciously sly humor…a compelling read.”
– Ellen Harris, The Cleveland Jewish News

“With quiet force and wrenching precision, Richard Teleky explores the profound love at the core of both loss and healing. Slowly, the intimate powers of friendship and marriage confront the sorrows of history. This is a remarkable novel, wise in its compassion.”
– Anne Michaels, author of Fugitive Pieces

“An anguished and triumphant novel. I’ve seldom been so caught up in the intimate history of a unforgettable story as richly textured as the cultural prism of Paris itself…an achingly beguiling book – brilliant, slightly scandalous, splendid.”
– Howard Norman, author of The Bird Artist

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