The Little Paris Bookshop | Nina George
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 book.
― Jean Perdu in The Little Paris Bookshop
The publishers should have put a cautionary label on the cover of Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop. Really - it should read WARNING! WARNING! This book will make your heart ache until it shatters into a million tiny slivers only to be lovingly pieced back together by the gentlest of hands.
The book begins in Paris where we meet the lonely bookseller Jean Perdu, who soothes his customers of their troubles by personally selecting 'literary remedies' from his floating book store on the Seine. Unfortunately these healing powers have not yet extended to mend his own broken heart after his lover left him 20 years ago, with only a letter left behind – which has remained opened. Until now. Perdu is finally compelled to leave Paris and embark on a soul searching journey to confront his past and navigate through his grief and sorrow to allow love to find him again.
To say I loved The Little Paris Bookshop is an understatement. I positively A D O R E D it. I will be honest, I'm a little hesitant about reading books that have been translated to English; there always seems to be a jarring sensation with the word and sentence structure, something always seems to be not-quite-right. Nina George’s narrative does not have this problem – quite the opposite in fact. Her story telling is just so god-damned-poignant that I promise you will sigh in delight at times and need a moment (or 2) before you can carry on. The cast of motley characters are all wonderfully eccentric (Max was my favourite, you will see why); Paris and the French countryside also play their special part and beg you to pack your bags and head to the airport this very instant. It really is a book to read slowly; to savour every sweet word and thought provoking page. You have my word - you won’t be sorry.
Whatever you are doing now, JUST STOP, OK? Go and read The Little Paris Bookshop. Go now.