The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel
by Nina George
Paperback- $11.22

Wonderful story of a man who owns a bookstore on a barge floating on the River Seine in Paris.

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  "The bookseller every reader longs for!" by thewanderingjew (see profile) 07/25/15

The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George (Author), Steve West (Reader), Emma Bering (Reader), Cassandra Campbell (Reader), translated by Simon Pare
When we meet Jean Perdu, we find a very unhappy, introverted bookseller who manages to solve the problems of others but fails to find solutions for his own. He neither talks much to his neighbors nor has many friends. He operates a barge on the Seine, from which he sells books to customers that he first instinctively analyzes so that he can then suggest a book that is appropriate for them. He has the gift of insight into their innermost hopes and dreams, fears and challenges. He will not sell a book to a customer if he feels it will not help or satisfy the reader in some way. He is called a book pharmacist, and he operates a literary apothecary.
More than twenty years ago, Perdu’s sweetheart suddenly left him. Like his name which means lost, he has been lost ever since. One day, when tenants in his building ask him to help out a neighbor whose husband abandoned her and left her with nothing but her heartbreak, he reluctantly agrees. He gruffly suggests that he give her a book, but they insist on a more practical gift, a table instead. He agrees and enters a room hidden behind bookcases in his apartment, a room he has not entered in a long time, to retrieve a table for her. He leaves it outside her door. He places a vase on it, and pretty much speaking through the peephole in her door, he tells her to use it for red flowers. He hears her muffled sobs; he knows her heart is broken. He returns to the secret room, the room that represents a time when his own heart was broken and is still not mended, and he gets her a chair and then promises her a book, as well, to help her recover. The two neighbors, Jean and Katherine, begin to help each other survive their own particular grief as their friendship buds and flowers. When she tells him she found an unopened letter, addressed to him, in a drawer of the table, he becomes angry and refuses to take it. Finally, he does read the letter that has been trapped in the drawer for more than twenty years; he discovers that he had made a grave mistake, and his heart breaks anew.
The warmth they share somewhat frees Jean Perdu from himself and his burdensome thoughts; he decides to release the book barge and begins to travel down the river Seine to try and make amends for his past foolishness. As he prepares to leave, another neighbor, a 21 year old reluctantly successful author, Max Jordan, jumps aboard without invitation, losing his belongings in the process. Perdu is not happy he is there, at first, but soon they, too, begin to comfort each other and cure each other’s ills. Shortly thereafter, another man joins them. He too is searching for something. When they reveal their secrets to each other, they are greeted with surprise, anger, and then, forgiveness and compassion. The three continue their travels, and in the end, as their group grows larger, they all find ways to resolve their problems and begin to realize that everyone needs to love and be loved.
It is a tender story in which all the characters seem to be searching to find out who they really are, what they really want, how to stop their sadness and their pain and how to find the joy of living. They all, in a somewhat contrived fashion, do seem to find their own solutions to their problems by the book’s end. Even Jean’s father and mother, separated from each other, seem to reconcile some of their differences and find their way back to each other, even if only occasionally
The narrators did a superb job with accents and characterization. I really found that I could picture the characters in my mind as each one spoke. The mood was set by the tone and expression of the readers’ voices which were alternately sad or happy, dreamy or alert, soft or loud as the scene required. Not one ever over emoted.
This book is translated beautifully, with the exception of some words pertaining to sexual content that seemed entirely out of place and low brow for a book of this quality. The prose is poetic and poignant, moving the reader with real emotion and encouraging empathic feelings toward the fully developed characters. Highly emotional scenes are interspersed with charming humor that relieves the tension perfectly.
Jean Perdu, like his name was lost, but later found; in the same way that he encouraged his readers to find themselves, he discovered the person he should be, or rather, the person he had the power to be, the person hiding inside him all along. The reader knows that words have power and this book proves it. Jean Perdu was the bookseller of every reader’s dreams. He not only knew his books, but he understood his readers. As Katherine, his neighbor, eventually coaxed the inner meaning of the stone into her sculptures, as Jordan created children’s books that encouraged children to grow into all they could be, and as Jean discovered the inner needs of his customers, coupled with his developing friendship with Katherine, he began to realize that his lost love, Manon, had also helped him to make the journey into his own happy future with someone else.

 
  "the little paris bookshop" by bhale (see profile) 07/25/15

 
  "The Little Paris Bookshop" by Neyly (see profile) 10/19/15

Truthfully, the characters leave Paris near the start of the novel and then abandon the floating bookshop mid-book. So, the title actually doesn't reflect the story.

To enjoy the book you have to suspend belief: the main character seals a room in his house for twenty years with a letter from his ex-lover in it. He opens the letter - at this years-later time only to find out that she hadn't just abandoned him (devoting all her attention to her husband - yes, she's married - the men share her) but for other reasons. He goes on a quest to overcome his guilt at not reading her letter earlier.

The writing is lovely (if somewhat obvious in its attempts to enlighten the reader and impart its deeper meaning) as is the depiction of the French countryside.

Bottom line: I was bored.

 
  "The Little Paris Bookshop" by Carolynr (see profile) 10/29/15

confusing in places but glad I stuck with it until the end. Interesting throughout but was happy with the ending

 
  "The Little Paris Bookshop" by Charlene1 (see profile) 03/01/16

The book was a little slow or wordy but turned into a great read.

 
  "" by Mederer123 (see profile) 03/01/16

 
  "You Will Want to Tour France by Way of the Rivers and Canals" by janetgarstang (see profile) 03/16/16

The strength of this book is in the author's ability to describe - the geography , the night sky, the food, the scents, the colors - so that the reader sees and feels and experiences them. The concept of the Literary Apothecary is wonderful, and the characters are enjoyable. What I did not love is the extreme emotionalism/ romanticism of the characters, and how they responded to their heartbreaks and losses. I felt manipulated by some of the plot lines, and it kept me from connecting with the characters. I liked this book a lot and it is definitely worth reading, but I wanted to love it and was disappointed that I did not.

 
  "" by Vferguso (see profile) 06/01/16

 
  "Charming" by Kwizgiver (see profile) 06/11/16

We were charmed by this story. And there was a lot to discuss!

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 06/22/16

 
  "The little Paris bookshop" by StephanieL (see profile) 07/13/16

 
  "" by Cbracken13 (see profile) 08/17/16

 
  "Hard to start" by marinegoddess (see profile) 08/19/16

We found it difficult to get into but the second half was better. It brought up questions of love and friendship, but we were quite exasperated by the main character.

 
  "The Little Paris Bookshop" by bookeyjane (see profile) 08/26/16

OK, This is a great book club discussion book. I say this because there are many opinions about how the main character lived his life. We discussed what love meant and how people deal with grief. If you start reading this book and don't like it because you think it's too over the top, hang in there...... the fun starts when the adventure begins!

 
  "The Little Paris Bookshop" by Lbstear (see profile) 09/07/16

Not a favorite of our book club - most liked it, no one loved it - but an interesting discussion nevertheless. A couple of us wanted to give the protagonist, Perdu, a good shake. He & another main character, Max, were pretty self-absorbed people. Brooding over what Perdu perceives as rejection by a lover for 21 years? Get over it! Some good quotes about grief though & a few slightly humorous sections. And the idea of a book barge & a person who can intuit what book a person should read was pretty interesting as well as the descriptions of their travels along the Seine.

 
  "the little paris bookshop" by karol (see profile) 09/07/16

Liked it better after our club discussed it. Some beautiful language in the book

 
  "The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel" by BevW (see profile) 09/08/16

I found this a fun book to read. The idea of a floating library was interesting. I'm not too sure if I like the idea of someone not selling me a book because "I'm not ready to read a book like that" or "it wouldn't be for me." I enjoyed it, but found it hard to believe.

 
  "" by klorens (see profile) 10/20/16

 
  "Good read!" by [email protected] (see profile) 10/21/16

Book started off slow... but had to in order to build main character's personality. I should add it also became fun with the travels on the river with the many characters that "tagged along".

 
  "" by shaman1551 (see profile) 12/20/16

 
  "" by MarFry (see profile) 01/07/17

 
  "" by jcaron (see profile) 01/16/17

 
  "Nice read" by maryannj (see profile) 01/25/17

 
  "The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel" by Susanmoore (see profile) 01/26/17

Although many of our book club members liked this book, no one loved it. And at least two stopped reading it because they did not find it at all engaging. However, the book is quite thought-provoking, and we had a lively discussion about the book's themes. We thought that most of the "twists" in the book were obvious and unsurprising, and we found some of the characters' actions and attitudes completely implausible. But we did all want to cruise through France on a houseboat! All in all, the discussion was better than the book.

 
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  "" by kimloves2read (see profile) 03/04/17

 
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  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 04/06/17

 
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  "" by jeancook (see profile) 04/28/17

 
  "The Little Paris Bookshop" by susanes (see profile) 04/28/17

Hard to believe or take seriously. Some liked it some did not.

 
  "" by Nottheboss (see profile) 05/11/17

 
  "Interesting Read" by Tbaker123 (see profile) 06/09/17

Not what I was expecting, but a good read, nonetheless. Great book club discussion.

 
  "Perhaps something was lost in translation" by rkarpinecz (see profile) 06/11/17

There was a sigh of relief when our group leader said, "I didn't like this book." One after the other, members of our group of 10 admitted, "I'm glad I'm not the only one."
In 11 years of book club and well over 100 books, this is the first time, NO ONE finished reading. One of us got 3/4 through before giving up.

We found the characters (except for Max) to be pathetic, self indulgent, and selfish and the story to be not believeable. However, we were all enchanted with the idea of a bookshop on a barge.

One woman suggested, "Perhaps something was lost in translation."

 
  "" by Kangland (see profile) 06/15/17

 
  "The Little Paris Bookshop" by [email protected] (see profile) 06/16/17

While i thought Perdu's behavior somewhat curious, it was an interesting story that unfolds against descriptive landscapes and people of southern France.

 
  "" by Darlindeb57 (see profile) 06/21/17

 
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  "" by KRoby (see profile) 08/23/17

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 10/05/17

 
  "" by Jbailey17 (see profile) 10/07/17

 
  "Uplifting Read" by Teamvargo (see profile) 10/14/17

 
  "" by suchbussey (see profile) 11/16/17

 
  "" by mamabearreads (see profile) 12/01/17

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 12/15/17

 
  "The Little Paris Bookshop, A Novel" by KatRah (see profile) 01/10/18

Great storytelling. Lovely setting. Insightful about grief process.

 
  "the little paris bookshop" by rmreader (see profile) 01/10/18

Stilted, over-rated

 
  "" by SherryMincic (see profile) 03/04/18

 
  "Then Little Paris Book Shop" by SuzCrall (see profile) 03/19/18

A different approach to dealing with grief, and a slow evolving romance, I found the book entertaining and imaginative.

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 04/07/18

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 05/31/18

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 06/20/18

 
  "Book Medicine" by [email protected] (see profile) 07/31/18

I had a hard time getting into this book, and it took many attempts. However, once I dug in, I stuck with it and really enjoyed it. Maybe because it's a poignant time in my life, having recently lost both of my parents, I found the parallel in learning how to grieve. I am a book lover, so just the idea of "la pharmacie litteraire" (a Literary Apothecary) kept me interested and wanting to read more. I loved the visual stimulation of gently making their way through the canals of southern France, and the way the author described the landscape, flowers, food, and peoples. M. Perdu's story was very sad, and I had such a hard time believing that such a character could even begin to exist. Are French men really that way? Are ANY men really that way? To love another so intensely... to basically give up on life because of someone... to never open the letter. Really? I guess this is what makes it fiction. I enjoyed the story, the characters, and learning about Nina George.

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 09/06/18

 
  "" by nlbress (see profile) 09/18/18

 
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  "" by sltaylor (see profile) 01/12/19

 
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  "The Little Paris Bookshop" by janetbals (see profile) 02/17/19

I was really excited about reading this book. a synopsis that a bookseller would choose the perfect book for a client. I envisioned some great stories before recommending a book. It was not. It was dull and boring. A lot of like a few old time authors that I will not read. After 60 pages with nothing happening, I stopped reading. If you want to waste your valuable time, then this is the book for you. I had a friend who said they had to drink wine to get through 50 pages. She's said she's now an alcoholic. (Joke).

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 03/03/19

 
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  "" by Alison8641 (see profile) 07/22/19

 
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  "Charming Ode to the Power of Books & Reading" by zodejodie4 (see profile) 06/13/20

Charming & beautifully written this ode to the power of books & reading takes you wandering along the Seine & into the lives of the characters peopling this tale. Nina George's lyrical prose is enchanting as are her well-drawn characters who allow us to accompany them on their journey. It was such a joy to spend time in this exquisitely textured little world.

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 01/19/23

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 04/25/24

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