The Little Paris Bookshop
by Nina George
published by Crown Publishing
June 23, 2015
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
When I received this book, I was excited because I really enjoy reading about booksellers. It turns out this book was quite different then I expected it to be. This isn’t just about a person who loved books, and is lucky enough to spend his day matching them to the right person from a barge on the Seine.
Monsieur Perdu considers himself a “literary apothecary” or a book healer. He feels that he can talk to a person, and then choose a book that will heal what pains them in their lives. But Perdu has a secret- he is the one who needs healing. He is living an empty life, haven given up on everything for the past 20 years while mourning the loss of his great love. All he has the letter she wrote when she left him- which he has never opened. When circumstances force him to read it, he pulls anchor on his barge/bookstore, and sails towards the South of France. This novel is a love song to books and the magic they can bring. It is all about how boos can affect your life. But it is also an emotional, mystical trek through grief and the fear of living. It reads almost like a song, the rhythm and lilt of the prose is beautiful. Do not let the title fool you- this is not just about a little bookshop in Paris.
“Books are more than doctors, of course. 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 voice. Like a short, torrid love affair.”
“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.