The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
Occasionally we are very lucky to find ourselves lost in a book. We open the pages and are completely transported. Reading The Little Paris Bookshop was one of those sweet and rare occasions for me.
From the map that begins the journey to the emergency literary pharmacy that graces the last pages, author Nina George has crafted a magical, thoughtful and heartbreaking gem of a novel which is destined to be at the top of many a reader's list of favorite books. It's already at the top of mine.
Throughout its pages this book takes on many faces. It masquerades as a diary, a moody love song, a travelogue, an impressionist painting and a love letter to the tango and to the delights of the whispers of the sea, buttery croissants and sweet summer wine.
We meet Jean Perdu - the literary apothecary who diagnoses the ailments of the broken hearted, the lovesick and the overstressed insomniacs of Paris with book suggestions or refused sales of symptom inappropriate reading material at his floating bookshop. He embarks on a journey of self discovery where the books he so easily presents as remedies to others become his lifeboat as he searches for the self he abandoned 21 years before. Jean's gradual self awareness informs our own and by the book's end I would venture any reader would have discovered something of value in his travels for the themselves.
The cast of characters are easy to root for. You wish the best for this ragtag bunch even when they are busy lying to themselves and each other about where they are headed and why. I was left with the hope I would chance upon even the characters with the smallest roles again - they seemed so real that I wouldn't be surprised to stumble across Kofi or Max's tango partner if I ever went on a European excursion.
Best of all there is an infectious literary language in this book. There were phrases so lovely and words so imaginative and graceful that I read them aloud several times in the hopes they would live in my mouth. Ms. George is an extraordinarily gifted writer and I give much credit to Simon Pate, the translator of this English edition as well. The book is poetry.
I feel this is a book for anyone with a passion for language, beautiful stories and a chunk of time - you won't want to put it down. Also, be forewarned, this book will make you want to read everything. You'll regret there aren't enough hours in the day to experience all the wonderful books our hero suggests even if you don't suffer from the maladies they're prescribed for.
A most sincere and heartfelt thanks is owed to the kind folks at Blogging for Books for providing me this copy in exchange for a review. I adored this book and I'm grateful for the chance to fall in love with it. Thank you.
If you'd like a recommendation from the book apothecary or you'd like to dive in and sample the first chapter of this fantastic novel visit Read It Forward here!