It took me a long time to finish The Little Paris Bookshop, but I’m glad I persevered. It evolved over time from a book about books into a deeply moving love story with many memorable characters.
Synopsis: Jean Perdu is in mourning for his lost love. She has been gone for more than 20 years, having disappeared from his life as swiftly as she came into it. But when he unexpectedly learns the reason for her departure, he launches himself into action, taking his book barge (and a runaway author) on a trip through the French canals to finally find the truth.
When I began reading this book I kept taking time to write down the books that were mentioned, but as I got caught up in the story I forgot about all that. It seems like the author had a similar experience, because as the story goes on the literary references become fewer and fewer, until Perdu is living his own life outside of the books he loves. His relationships with the friends he has made along the way become the central focus of the story, which really stood out for me.
There were a number of different scenes that felt like they could have been endings. At about 60% of the way through I was sure that I must be coming to the end (read it on my Kobo, so I wasn’t aware of my page count) because there was this bitter sweet moment where you think that Perdu is going to give up his quest. I was almost okay with the fact that the main story had no resolution at that point because things seem to be going in the direction they are meant to be. Luckily, the author felt the desire to keep things going, and the true ending is everything that I hoped it would be.
If you love books, France, love stories, and a bit of adventure, this is a must read.
“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.”