By Elena Mauli Shapiro
American educational Trevor Stratton discovers a field packed with artifacts from international struggle I as he settles into his new place of work in Paris. the images, letters, and items within the field relate to the lifetime of Louise Brunet, a feisty, fascinating Frenchwoman who lived via either global Wars.
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Extra info for 13, Rue Thérèse
Perhaps he is just a mutt—perhaps he is even a she. The dog is indeed a female. The men have called her “Eclat d’obus,” but just Eclat for short. An éclat d’obus means “shrapnel,” literally “shard of shell”; there isn’t a single word that means shrapnel in French. The men call the dog this because their time at war has given them a perverse sense of humor: Eclat is the daughter of another dog they had before, this one named Obus—thus Shell begat Shrapnel. Obus is dead now; she was blown up on the front lines: both her hind legs exploded clean off, with a great splatter of canine gore.
Still, he would have wished a son for his daughter, just to make her happy—even though he knows that the grief of losing a child is much keener than the grief of never having him. HE LOVES HIS WORK, its tiny precise nature. He can get lost in it for hours. He has been doing this work for so many years that his hearing has lost sensitivity to the sound of the drills and sanders. It hardly even registers anymore. When he was young, the noise echoed in his head for hours after he got home. He could hear it as he went to sleep—even when he made love to his wife, so long ago.
Neither are the coins, the gloves, the cards, nor anything else. It is all quite pell-mell, quite a puzzle. It has snowed here in Paris, a good fall that layers everything in a lovely sheen of glimmering white. The poor French are utterly routed by this development: it seldom snows here. Traffic is gridlocked; people are stuck places. It is rather funny. I am told that when it snows, generally it is in tiny flakes that melt as soon as they hit the ground. This snow has stuck, and no one knows what to do.