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
Jean Perdu is a bookseller who struggles to come to terms with his past, while helping other people heal their wounds with books. He has an enormous amount of books and knows the best time to read them, for he can diagnose a shopper’s ills (ennui, disappointment, a broken heart) and select the correct literary remedy.
After finding a long-lost letter, Jean lifts the Literary Apothecary’s anchor to make a journey to Provence. Stowed away is his neighbor Max, a young novelist running away from his fame. The two navigate the canals of France selling books for food, engaging in adventures small and large, all against the backdrop of quaint villages and bittersweet memories. Along the way they’re joined by various eccentric characters such as a flamboyant singer, the chairwoman of a fantasy cosplay society, a passionate Italian chef and every one has a moving story. They all work through their issues with books.
Once again I was charmed by an author who makes me feel as if I’m inside the location of a novel, in this case I was transported from Paris to Provence. I was there, lazily drifting along under
“the light-drenched sky, the calls of the cicadas from one hundred year old trees, the wind wrestling over every almond leaf. The heat like a fever. The golden quivering and sparkling of the air when the sun goes down and turns the steep mountains and the perching villages shades of pink and honey”
There’s a lovely mix between the charm of the city and the charm of the countryside and it made me want to get on a barge and go on an adventure straight away.
George’s prose is not just sweetly lyrical about Nature, she deftly inserts eminently quotable gems from each character.
“All of us preserve time. We preserve the old versions of the people who have left us. And under our skin, under the layer of wrinkles and experience and laughter, we, too, are old versions of ourselves”
In terms of literature, there are so many (mostly real) books mentioned throughout the story, that I kept jotting down titles to a list of books which I simply must get soon. An absolute dream!
A humorous yet deeply moving novel and a delight for every bookworm. It was exactly the sort of sweetly enveloping read that’s perfect for a Sunday afternoon, and I really didn’t want it to end.
My Amazon link :The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel