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An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris (Hardcover)
A haunting and moving collection of original narratives that reveals an expatriate's coming-of-age in Paris and the magic she finds in ordinary objects
An awkward, curious girl growing up in a foreign country, Stephanie LaCava finds solace and security in strange yet beautiful objects.
When her father's mysterious job transports her and her family to the quaint Parisian suburb of Le Vésinet, everything changes for the young American. Stephanie sets out to explore her new surroundings and to make friends at her unconventional international school, but her curiosity soon gives way to feelings of anxiety and a deep depression.
In her darkest moments, Stephanie learns to filter the world through her peculiar lens, discovering the uncommon, uncelebrated beauty in what she finds. Encouraged by her father through trips to museums and scavenger hunts at antique shows, she traces an interconnected web of narratives of long-ago outsiders, and of objects historical and natural, that ultimately help her survive.
A series of illustrated essays that unfolds in cinematic fashion, An Extraordinary Theory of Objects offers a universal lesson—to harness the power of creativity to cope with loneliness, sadness, and disappointment to find wonder in the uncertainty of the future.
About the Author
Stephanie LaCava is a writer working in New York and Paris. Her work has appeared in T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Vogue, and other print and online publications, including The Paris Review and Tin House.
Matthew T. Nelson is a specialist in user interfaces and Products Manager for GUI Products at Zeh Graphic Systems, Inc., in Houston, Texas. He worked with the pre-beta version of JFC, and has done significant work with Netscape's IFC and Java's Abstract Windowing Toolkit.
“This captivating, wonderfully strange little book is like no other I’ve ever read. Stephanie LaCava has created something original and true, at once emotionally resonant and intellectually challenging. A sheer delight.”
-Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion and Slow Motion
“What cleverly fills the honeycomb of LaCava’s own story is a compassionate, evocative biography of seemingly aberrant things and a collection of historical anecdotes that most readers would never otherwise learn, let alone find gathered all together in one small (but not diminishing), deliberate, and careful book.”