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The Little Paris Bookshop

The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel - Nina George, Simon Pare

“Books are like people, and people are like books, I’ll tell you how I go about it. I ask myself: Is he or she the main character in his or her life? What is her motive? Or is she a secondary character in her own tale? Is she in the process of editing herself out of her story because her husband, her career, her children or her job are consuming her entire text?”


Thus how Jean Perdu, the main character in The Little Paris Bookshop, explains what he does for people. Perdu owns a floating bookstore. You read that correctly. His bookstore is located on a boat in Paris. I instantly wanted to go there, fictional or not. The idea is just heaven. Perdu also has a “gift”. When someone comes aboard, he talks with them.  He is able to see what they really need and offer a book that will help the person find what they are looking for and tell then what they need to hear. Help them heal. Help them grow.


What Perdu doesn’t tell people is he’s suffering from a terrible loss. Years ago the woman he loved left him. And he’s been broken ever since.


Reading this book made me emotional. There were so many passages that were just... words fail me. I kept re-reading things twice, loving the way emotions were so beautifully put. Perdu meets interesting characters on his journey to finally recover from his loss - a woman left by her husband, a young author struggling with writer’s block, an idealistic man wanting to be reunited with an old lover he too lost years before.. Each of these helps Perdu come to terms with his life.


The book is beautiful. But it is not perfect. The translation is so well done at times I can’t believe it’s a translation. At other times, mainly about a third of the way in , the story feels disjointed - but I can’t tell if it is the translation or the source material.


Also the woman Perdu loved and lost - I hate to admit it, but I couldn’t stand her. I thought her selfish as well as careless with others’ feelings. To me, she put what she wanted above everything else. And the consequences of that are felt by everyone in her orbit. I have to admit she does have some selfless moments. But by the time they come I was so annoyed by her flighty I’m just going to follow my feeeeeeeeeelings vapidness I could only begrudgingly acknowledge her good deeds. Every time she appeared on the page was like nails on a chalkboard. Her character is vital to the beauty of the story, and because her character to me was so dislikable, I couldn’t give this well-written story five stars.


I do recommend the book though. And I will read anything by this author/translator. It's am amazing book.


And I have to acknowledge the cover, it's gorgeous.


The book was provided free in exchange for an honest review.