Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

From his floating bookshop on the Seine, Jean Perdu dispenses remedies in the form of literature: books for heartache, books for sadness, books for life.  He knows instinctively what book a reader needs to solve their woes.  Except for his own.

Still reeling from a devastating loss in decades past, Perdu is content to live a solitary life.  He spends his days shuttling between his sparse, utilitarian apartment and his "literary apothecary," and avoiding the unopened letter in his kitchen draw - the only remnant of his great love, Manon.  Until the day he is tempted to open it, and begins to realize the lifetime of hurt that has seemingly defined him is not at all as it appears.

Hoping to make peace with a past he's only now discovered, Perdu pulls up anchor and navigates his book barge to the South of France in search of answers.  What he intends to be a solo trip soon has company, as a bestselling and wallowing novelist and lovesick Italian chef soon join him on his journey, each in hope of discovery and, perhaps, in finding something in themselves along the way.

This book is beautifully written - the lyrical prose will pull you in from the start.  Each of the characters in George's book is delightfully idiosyncratic and unique.  The scenic details are lush and engrossing, with Paris and the French countryside coming alive in wonderful detail.  At it's heart, it's a story of an internal and physical journey, not just for Perdu, but for many of the people he encounters.  It's the type of book that will run you through an emotional gauntlet, but in the best possible way.  Definitely recommended to anyone looking for a story that will fully transport you.

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