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Ah, Paris! C’est formidable! Many African-American artists, writers, and musicians have passed through the French capital on the trail to success blazed by Langston Hughes, Josephine Baker, and James Baldwin, among others. In Shay Youngblood’s Black Girl in Paris, the year is 1986. As terrorist bombs explode randomly all over the city, 26-year-old orphan Eden arrives with only a few hundred dollars in her shoe and a dream of becoming a writer and being “free.” The novel follows her as she bounces around the city like a pinball, hitting every bohemian-in-Paris cliche: Eden struggles to survive as an artist’s model (bing!), an au pair (boing!), and a petty criminal (ding!), and asks everyone she meets for an introduction to Baldwin, yet somehow never bothers to get a work permit—or even to get much actual writing done. Youngblood reads from and signs her latest book at 6 p.m. at Vertigo Books, 1337 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 429-9272. (Dawn L. Hannaham)