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Paris Is a Party, Paris Is a Ghost: A Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

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.

David Hoon Kim is the author of Paris Is a Party, Paris Is a Ghost. He took his first creative writing workshops in France before attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the Stegner Program, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. His work has appeared in The New YorkerThe New York Review of Books, as well as various French-language publications in Québec and France. He can be found at davidhoonkim.com.

Anjali Sachdeva’s short story collection, All the Names They Used for God, was the winner of the 2019 Chautauqua Prize; named a Best Book of 2018 by NPR, Refinery 29, and BookRiot; and longlisted for the Story Prize. Her fiction has been featured on the LeVar Burton Reads podcast and published in McSweeney’s, Lightspeed, Fairy Tale Review, MIT Technology Review, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading, among other publications. Sachdeva teaches at the University of Pittsburgh and in the low-residency MFA program at Randolph College.

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

Paris Is a Party, Paris Is a Ghost wasn’t like anything I’d read before: an adventure among languages, but also Paris, about the ways languages control us—the ones we grew up with, the ones we learn as adults, the ones we never learn but might have—and how they set boundaries we almost never see, on our lives, our desires, our sense of possibility, even our ghosts, except in glimpses. I left haunted in ways I hadn’t thought possible.”
—Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night

“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

“In Paris Is a Party, Paris Is a Ghost, the characters pursue one another through morgues, cemeteries, and catacombs. And yet the book is replete with the wonders of life, explored by a narrator who catalogues the scents and tastes and voices of Paris in exquisite detail. David Hoon Kim has created a novel so rich with synchronicity and mystery that when you set it down and rejoin the world, the familiar landmarks of your daily life seem filled with hidden possibilities.”
—Anjali Sachdeva, author of All the Names They Used for God

Event date: 
Thursday, September 2, 2021 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Paris Is a Party, Paris Is a Ghost: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374229726
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - August 3rd, 2021

All the Names They Used for God: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525508687
Availability: Backordered
Published: The Dial Press - June 18th, 2019