In this novel that opens in 1937 Paris, the poet Elizabeth Bishop is reimagined as a Nazi resister who hopes to rescue Jewish infants from the impending horrors of the Third Reich by taking them from their families and giving them to Catholic orphanages, where they are baptized.
In this historical novel, Liza Wieland distills Bishop’s formative years into an artful blend of biography and imagination. Her challenge is to echo Bishop’s poetic voice without losing her own, and she manages beautifully. She delivers an impressionistic novel, with individual scenes coalescing to form a luscious whole ... Readers unfamiliar with Bishop’s poetry will not get a tutorial here. But there are many glimpses—'Paris, 7 a.m.' is the title of a poem. These, in addition to the adventures Wieland creates for Bishop, give readers an appreciation for the woman who set a new direction in American poetry.
With this exquisite novel, Wieland...offers a beautifully realized tribute to distinguished American poet Elizabeth Bishop ... As with Bishop's own work, the novel is quiet, observational, and reflective, exhibiting its own kind of poetry as it brings its subject's deeply humane, inquisitive, and intelligent sensibility compellingly to life ... A triumph; recommended for fans of poetry, women's studies, and contemporary literary fiction
This creative retelling of Bishop’s life provides an intriguing look at a complicated woman and writer. Moreover, Wieland’s choice to write in the eternal present with a limited third-person point of view to reveal Bishop’s thoughts and keen perceptions of those around her lends a particular freshness to the novel ... Although those already familiar with Elizabeth Bishop may appreciate seeing this famous American writer in her youth through Wieland’s eyes, enjoyment of this novel does not require prior knowledge of Bishop. However, readers should not be surprised if, on finishing Paris, 7 A.M., they discover a new curiosity to learn even more about Bishop’s compelling life and work.