Nina George's The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel tells us of Jean Perdu, who runs a bookshop out of a converted barge on the Seine River in Paris. He calls it La Pharmacie Litéraire -- the literary apothecary -- because he has an unusual gift for being able to see into his customers' souls about what they most need. According to Jean Perdu, there is a book for every ailment of the soul. "The bookseller could not imagine what might be more practical than a book" (page 1).
"Perdu reflected that it was a common misconception that booksellers looked after books. ... They look after people" (page 19). However, for the past twenty-one years there's only one person that
Jean Perdu has been unable to successfully prescribe a book for --
himself. That's because twenty-one years ago, the woman that he loved abruptly left
him; no goodbyes, no forewarning, just a letter that Jean Perdu has not
been able to bring himself to open. And it's the sudden arrival of a
mysterious new neighbor in his apartment building may be just the thing
Jean Perdu has been waiting for. And so, one not so special day, Jean
Perdu unmoors his literary apothecary and sets off for Provence in
search of answers, closure and the ability to heal his own soul.
This is a beautifully told story that blends together books and travel, in a way that highlights how our own selves are made up of the things we read and the places we go.
Readers will find here some vivid depictions of the French countryside, a wonderfully eclectic parade of characters, and anything but a cheesy story.
While I was reading, I tried to keep track of the fabulous quotes, but it just became too much. You simply have to read it for yourself. This is a book for anyone who loves beautiful books and beautiful places.
I received a free copy of this book as part of the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review here.