Saturday, 27 June 2015

The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel

The Little Paris Bookshop
A Novel
by Nina George

Hardcover, 400 pages

I did not fall in love with this book right away.

I can't even tell you when I did. Certainly reasonably close to the start, but at least several pages in. I may have to go back and read the beginning again, now that I feel that I understand the book a little better. The magic of it. The absurdity and the poetry. The simplicity and satisfying gifts of the Odyssean journey of emotions for these strange characters.

It is a hard book to classify. And I don't think I have ever made so many notes on a novel before. I found myself reading quotes and paragraphs to people. Sometimes long distance.

There is no formula, no recognizable form. The author encourages writers to break the rules and forge their own paths.

And she definitely let the characters take their own paths. Do what they needed to do to heal. To forgive. To live.

Likely not everyone will love the book for what it is. But I did. I sure did.

The characters are mainly men but the tone is feminine. A tonic of a book.

From the Back Flap:

“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can't seem to heal through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people's lives.

NINA GEORGE works as a journalist, writer, and storytelling teacher. She is the award winning author of 26 books, and also writes feature articles, short stories, and columns. The Little Paris Bookshop spent over a year on bestseller lists in Germany, and was a bestseller in Italy, Poland, and the Netherlands. George is married to the writer Jens J. Kramer and lives in Hamburg and in Brittany, France.