1889 : A love story set in Paris against the backdrop of the building of the Eiffel Tower
TO CAPTURE WHAT WE CANNOT KEEP
by Beatrice Colin
Flatiron Books, Summer 2016
TO CAPTURE WHAT WE CANNOT KEEP, is a novel set in Paris against the backdrop of the building of the Eiffel Tower, in which a penniless widow and an upper class engineer fall in love, despite their different social strata.
This note from the author herself explains how the story came to life:
“Usually when I’m in Paris I tend to avoid the Eiffel Tower – too many tourists. One day I realised, however, that it was so famous that I had ceased to actually see it anymore. I started to wonder what was it doing there and who built it. I discovered that it wasn’t designed by Gustave Eiffel but by two engineers, Émile Nouguier and Maurice Koechlin who worked for Eiffel, for the World Fair of 1889. There are only a few photographic images of Émile Nouguier and not much biographical information apart from his engineering work – which was impressive – and the fact that he was unmarried. Nouguier left Eiffel’s firm shortly after the tower was completed and started his own firm. One of his biggest achievements was the Fairherbe Bridge in Senegal which is still in use today. A photograph of Nouguier captures a handsome young man with a slightly wistful expression. I decided to write a fictional character based on him to tell the story of the tower and of the vibrant, revolutionary times in which it was built. “
Beatrice Colin is a novelist based in Glasgow. The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite/The Glimmer Palace (2008), a novel set in Berlin in the early 20th century, was translated into eight languages, was a Richard and Judy pick and was short-listed for several major awards. The Songwriter (2010) was set in jazz-age New York and translated into Italian and Portuguese.
This will have huge appeal for fans of E.M. Forster’s A ROOM WITH A VIEW and Paula McLain’s A PARIS WIFE.