A View with a Room
“A View with a Room” is Kevin McDonough’s humorous adventure of pursuing his long-held dream to live in Paris. With nothing but his suitcase and passport, he arrives in the City of Light not knowing a soul. But a chance meeting at a sidewalk crêpe stand propels his life in a new direction where he learns about friendship, food, and most importantly, himself. More
“A View with a Room” is the author’s humorous account of pursuing his long-held dream to live in Paris. With nothing but his suitcase and passport he arrives not knowing a soul. Each chapter is a snapshot of the highs and lows of his year-long journey in the City of Light. “Somewhere Over the North Pole” describes his flight sitting next to an obnoxious passenger who can’t understand why he’s doing this, just like everyone else. In “Me, the Unwelcome Guest” he ends up in a fleabag motel. With help from Madame Renée, the proprietor, and the language school’s receptionist, he finds the apartment of his dreams where he hosts parties and enjoys a to-die-for view of the Eiffel Tower from the most unlikely spot.
A chance meeting at a crêpe stand changes his life forever. One moment he is humiliated ordering a crêpe Grand Marnier, the next he’s at a sidewalk café on boulevard Saint Germain with his first friend. She introduces him into her network of friends where he experiences his first nuit blanche, and listens to ghost stories on the sands of Normandy. As his Parisian life changes daily, one thing remains constant--he can’t speak French.
A teacher suggests he take a break and visit a country where he doesn’t understand the language. He points out he’s already in one, but takes her advice and visits a former classmate in Germany, where he injures his father on the basement stairs. In Italy he draws a Sunday crowd while replacing a flat, shredded tire with one that is merely flat. In “Goats in Trees, I Swear” he stares down a spitting, cross-eyed goat. A crazed camel nearly tramples him in the Sahara, and he mistakenly cheers a notorious dictator during a parade.
In “When Bobby Came to Visit” a beat cop in the red-light district grills him like a common criminal while his friends are in an upstairs brothel enjoying the lay of the land. In “A Night at the Opera” he prefers the joy of a children’s choir on Christmas Eve in the Latin Quarter to a dreadful pièce de thêatre. “Snails and Dominique” recounts a missed opportunity to speak to a woman who captured his heart, unable to ignore the disgusting entrée he forced down at a private dinner. “Jane, a Balloon, and Marvin” is an achingly beautiful recounting of his last days floating across the Loire in a hot air balloon, with a duck.
“It’s Over” ends with his bags packed, watching the new tenant sign the lease. The dream is over, but the joy will remain. Friendships are forged for life. Food and wine captured his heart. In a year that flew by, he still found time to speak some French, stroll les petites rues, and come home every evening to a view of Paris from the unlikeliest spot. “A View with a Room” is a powerful, heartfelt journey, where he learns about love, friendship, and ultimately, himself.
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