The Little Paris Bookshop
Nina George (Adult Fiction)
“As the grandmother, mother and girl said their good-byes and went on their way, Perdu reflected that it was a common misconception that booksellers looked after books. They look after people.”
From a single conversation, Monsieur Perdu can tell you what you need and what your soul lacks. His father calls it transperception, the ability to see and hear through most people’s camouflage and detect all the things they worry and dream about. He can transperceive just about anybody…except himself. He spends his days operating a moored book barge called Literary Apothecary, where he prescribes books like medication to those who lack or seek confidence, hope, faith, or love. His seemingly tranquil life is suddenly made turbulent when an unopened, twenty-year old letter, written by his ex-lover, is discovered. Perdu suddenly finds himself on a journey to discover an author’s real identity, to seek forgiveness, and to find peace.
Like a rusty barge moored in port for a little too long, this book had a promising start, but then just sputtered and gasped along until the end of the book. The details and descriptions that George provides of the ports along Paris and of the French countryside are vivid and meticulous; however, the story stalls mid-way through and just never seems to regain steam. Reading this book was more like a job to finish rather than a journey to be enjoyed. The Little Paris Bookshop was marketed as “a love letter to books”, but to readers, it feels more like a Dear John letter as we are left feeling forlorn and rather disappointed.
* Book cover image attributed to www.penguinrandomhouse.com