As a lecturer in history at Sciences Po and Paris resident director for City University of New York, Ellen Hampton lives on the fault lines of understanding between the French and the Americans, the old and the young. Being American and married to a French husband for 25 years has only clarified the culture gaps (or as Nietzsche would have it, the abyss). In this novel, Hampton filters her experience as an expatriate, standing outside both the society of departure and that of arrival, into a vivid and thoughtful narrative of today’s Paris. Or is it yesterday’s Paris? So hard to tell.
In 2006, Hampton published Women of Valor: the Rochambelles on the WWII Front (Palgrave-Macmillan), a non-fiction account of a group of women ambulance drivers organized by an American woman during the Second World War. She earned a PhD in history from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in 2008, and has been teaching, researching non-fiction projects and writing this novel since then. Before moving to France, she worked as a journalist in Miami and Latin America, for The Miami Herald, The Miami News and Cox Newspapers. She is the mother of two sons.