"Men are like perfumes. In an instant, with nothing but a whiff of judgment, I either love them or discard them."
Marisol is an exuberant poet and historical archivist living in contemporary Miami. Like her adopted city, she's a sensual free spirit. Born in Cuba and transplanted at an early age to Florida, she nurses a nostalgia for the legendary island birthplace she barely remembers. She also harbors a passion for scents, donning a new perfume each time she takes on a new relationship. After the death of her beloved grandmother and a series of sensuous but disappointing romances, Marisol realizes that she must break free from the shackles of her history, abandon lost causes, and embrace the only real home she's ever had -- her own wandering heart. Freed at last from yearning for old Havana, "the Paris of the Caribbean," this romantic exile must embrace a new life. Although she cannot reclaim Havana, she can experience the real thing -- Paris -- so Marisol sets out with an open ticket to chart the course of her future.
Bridging the divide between the effervescent Miami of today and the mystical Cuba of yesteryear, Reclaiming Paris is a paean to place and memory, rich with humor, passion, and unforgettable characters.
Reading Group Guide
In this debut novel, a young Cuban-American woman explores her life and relationships, each major era defined by a different perfume. From her early childhood in the midst of the Cuban revolution, through her college years in Iowa and her adult life in vibrant, changing Miami, Marisol finds passionate love and great loss, each moment leading her to a greater understanding of her culture, her family, and herself as a woman.
Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. Marisol recollects switching perfumes whenever a significant shift has occurred in her life. In what ways do you think relationships are like scents? Can you relate to associating different scents with different periods of your life?
2. Discuss the important relationships in Marisol’s life. How does each romance fulfill her and fail her? How does each man help her to work out her identity as a Cuban-American?
3. How is Mari see more