The Little Paris Bookshop
Not sure why, but I requested The Little Paris Bookshop two years ago and it was still collecting digital dust on my Netgalley shelf.
Determined to deal with my TBR, I finally got to it, quite timely actually, as the author just published her second novel.
The book started really well, with all kinds of really cool ideas and reflections on books and reading.
Let’s start with a few of these neat passages:
In Chapter 4:
Books, the only remedy for countless, undefined afflictions of the soul.
Perdu reflected that it was a common misconception that booksellers looked after books. They look after people.
In chapter 5:
There are books that are suitable for a million people, others only for a hundred. There are even medicines— sorry, books— that were written for one person only
Some novels are loving, lifelong companions; some give you a clip around the ear; others are friends who wrap you in warm towels when you’ve got those autumn blues. And some… well, some are pink candy floss that tingles in your brain for three seconds and leaves a blissful void. Like a short, torrid love affair.
Reading Southern Lights was a homeopathic dose of happiness. It was the only balm that could ease Perdu’s pain— a gentle, cold stream over the scorched earth of his soul.
In chapter 6:
He wanted her to sense the boundless possibilities offered by books. There would always be enough. They would never stop loving their readers. They were a fixed point in an otherwise unpredictable world. In life. In love. After death.
In chapter 10:
That was the only tragic thing about books: they changed people.
In chapter 20:
Reading— an endless journey; a long, indeed never-ending journey that made one more temperate as well as more loving and kind.
Imagine: Jean has a bookstore on a barge in Paris! And he is a really cool bookseller, as his specialty is to “prescribe” a book for whatever ailment you have. He is also good at diagnosing the people he meets!
We often speak about book therapy these days, so it was neat to have Jean so adept at it.
With one big exception: self-diagnostic! As his name hints at, Jean Perdu (perdu means lost in French), he can’t go beyond a major loss in his life decades ago, and what he did or didn’t do back then. So he finally decides to take off on his barge, accompanied by other broken and interesting characters.
The descriptions of the landscapes as they follow the French canals to go to Provence are beautiful. And they meet all kinds of colorful people!
But really, I could have slapped the guy and told him to turn the page. It got really too bogged down, self-focused, too oriented on his past, and too much on feelings.
Well, I’m realizing only now that it was classified partly under romance.
Note to self: do pay more attention to the genre specified by the publisher…
So I ended up being quite disappointed by the book, and unless you manage to convince me, I don’t think I will try Nina George’s new book.
VERDICT: Books as medicine. A hymn to the love of reading and books, but bogged down in the murky waters of emotions and feelings.
Author: Nina George
Translator: Simon Pare
Publication: June 23, 2015
by Random House/Crown
First published in German in 2013 as
Genre: literary fiction / romance
Check the author’s page on the Random House website
HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
Any thoughts about book therapy?
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In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this ebook for free from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer, and the thoughts are my own.