The international bestseller THE LITTLE PARIS BOOKSHOP is a delightful, bittersweet tale about the distance one man will travel for the sake of love and friendship.
The international bestseller, translated from the German by Simon Pare.
On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a 'literary apothecary', for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers.
The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. His memories and his love have been gathering dust - until now. The arrival of an enigmatic new neighbour in his eccentric apartment building on Rue Montagnard inspires Jean to unlock his heart, unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for Provence, in search of the past and his beloved.
This charming tale is already a bestseller in Germany. On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop - or as he calls it, 'a literary apothecary', because the owner knows how to use books like medicine. The only person he is unable to cure - of heartache - is himself. For fans of Like Water for Chocolate and Amelie - Red
As . . . the little floating bookshop sets off for Provence, George uses a heady cocktail of literature and more sensual pleasures to create a wonderfully offbeat romance - Mail on Sunday
Glowing . . . a classic voyage and return narrative, layered with wit, enchanting writing and a love of books . . . I prescribed it for a cynical friend who has "seen it all" (and read it all) and she swooned - Daily Mail
A captivating curiosity, for those who still believe in love and books, friendship and food, happiness and romance - Saga
“To carry them within us – that is our task. We carry them all inside us, all our dead and shattered loves. Only they make us whole. If we begin to forget or cast aside those who we’ve lost, then … then we are no longer present either” The Little Paris Bookshop is the seventh book by German journalist, teacher and author, Nina George (written under that name). Jean Perdu is fifty years old. He lives in an apartment building with an interesting (and often eccentric) collection of other tenants, a place where “The snatches of life that could be overheard in the house at number 27 Rue Montagnard were like a sea lapping the shores of Perdu’s silent isle”. Perdu is the owner of The Literary Apothecary, a book barge on the River Seine in Paris. His customers (or perhaps they are patients) benefit from his unique skills, his extraordinary insight and intuition, in dispensing just the right literary remedy for “countless, undefined afflictions of the soul”. He advises one: “With all due respect, what you read is more important in the long term than the man you marry, ma chère Madame” But the arrival of a new tenant, the heart-broken Catherine, sets in motion a train of events that see Perdu opening a room in his apartment (and in his heart) that has been sealed for twenty-one years. Soon after, the contents of a hitherto unopened letter are the impetus for great changes: Perdu abruptly unmoors his barge and sets off, completely unprepared, down the Seine towards Provence, to face what he has been denying for such a long time. He is accompanied by a publicity-shy novelist, two cats (Kafka and Lindgren) and later a lovelorn Italian and an impulsive book guild chairwoman. Perdu’s narrative is supplemented by entries in Manon’s Travel Diary and letters or cards that Jean writes to Catherine back in Paris. As the story unfolds, Perdu shares proposed entries for his “Great Encyclopedia of Small Emotions” as well as some profound observations on human nature: “The trouble is that so many people, most of them women, think they have to have a perfect body to be loved. But all it has to do is be capable of loving – and being loved”; and quite a lot of words of wisdom: “Memories are like wolves. You can’t lock them away and hope they leave you alone” being one example. In this best-selling novel, George touches on love and heartbreak, grief and denial, and the importance of friends. She wraps her heart-warming and uplifting tale in some truly gorgeous descriptive prose: “The Milky Way was a streak of light, a vapour trail of planets overhead. The silence was almost overpowering, and the blue depths of the night sky seemed to suck them in” and “It is different every day, and the gulls screech like little kids on stormy days and like heralds of glory on sunny ones. ‘Fine! Fine! Fine! they call” and “Sometimes you’re swimming in unwept tears and you’ll go under if you store them up inside” are just a few. Her characters are appealing, her plot takes a few twists and there are even small mysteries and tiny moments of suspense. Readers who enjoyed The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry are very likely to find this novel equally delightful. Flawlessly translated by Simon Pare, it also features a section of delicious-sounding Provencal recipes and Jean Perdu’s Emergency Literary Pharmacy, five pages that are both funny and perceptive. Funny, moving and uplifting. With thanks to The Reading Room and Hachette for this copy to read and review. Just a few more quotes I couldn’t resist: “He mainly thought of her as ____. As a pause amid the hum of his thoughts, as a blank in the picture of the past, as a dark spot amid his feelings. He was capable of conjuring all kinds of gaps” “Fear transforms your body like an inept sculptor does a perfect block of stone. It’s just that you’re chipped away at from within, and no one sees how many splinters and layers have been taken off you. You become ever thinner and more brittle inside, until even the slightest emotion bowls you over. One hug, and you think you’re going to shatter and be lost” “It’s strange that magnificent, good-hearted people like him don’t receive more love. Do their looks disguise their character so well that nobody notices how open their soul, their being and their principles are to love and kindness?”
Born in 1973, Nina George is a journalist and the author of numerous bestselling novels, which have been translated into several languages. The Little Paris Bookshop was a phenomenal top five bestseller in Germany and is set to be published around the world. She is married to the writer Jens J. Kramer and lives in Hamburg.