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The Little Paris Bookshop

Cover of The Little Paris Bookshop

The Little Paris Bookshop

A Novel
Monsieur Perdu can prescribe the perfect book for a broken heart. But can he fix his own?

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can't seem to heal through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country's rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people's lives.

From the Hardcover edition.
Monsieur Perdu can prescribe the perfect book for a broken heart. But can he fix his own?

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can't seem to heal through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country's rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people's lives.

From the Hardcover edition.
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    How on earth could I have let them talk me into it?

    The two generals of number 27 Rue Montagnard--Madame Bernard, the owner, and Madame Rosalette, the concierge--had caught Monsieur in a pincer movement between their ground-floor flats.

    "That Le P. has treated his wife shamelessly."

    "Scandalously. Like a moth treats a wedding veil."

    "You can hardly blame some people when you look at their wives. Fridges in Chanel. But men? Monsters, all of them."

    "Ladies, I don't quite know what . . ."

    "Not you of course, Monsieur Perdu. You are cashmere compared with the normal yarn from which men are spun."

    "Anyway, we're getting a new tenant. On the fourth floor. Yours, Monsieur."

    "But Madame has nothing left. Absolutely nothing, only shattered illusions. She needs just about everything."

    "And that's where you come in, Monsieur. Give whatever you can. All donations welcome."

    "Of course. Maybe a good book . . ."

    "Actually, we were thinking of something more practical. A table, perhaps. You know, Madame has--"

    "Nothing. I got that."

    The bookseller could not imagine what might be more practical than a book, but he promised to give the new tenant a table. He still had one.

    Monsieur Perdu pushed his tie between the top buttons of his white, vigorously ironed shirt and carefully rolled up his sleeves. Inward, one fold at a time, up to the elbow. He stared at the bookcase in the corridor. Behind the shelves lay a room he hadn't entered for almost twenty-one years.

    Twenty-one years and summers and New Year's mornings.

    But in that room was the table.

    He exhaled, groped indiscriminately for a book and pulled Orwell's 1984 out of the bookcase. It didn't fall apart. Nor did it bite his hand like an affronted cat.

    He took out the next novel, then two more. Now he reached into the shelf with both hands, grabbed whole parcels of books out of it and piled them up beside him.

    The stacks grew into trees. Towers. Magic mountains. He looked at the last book in his hand. When the Clock Struck Thirteen. A tale of time travel.

    If he'd believed in omens, this would have been a sign.

    He banged the bottom of the shelves with his fists to loosen them from their fastenings. Then he stepped back.

    There. Layer by layer, it appeared. Behind the wall of words. The door to the room where . . .

    I could simply buy a table.

    Monsieur Perdu ran his hand over his mouth. Yes. Dust down the books, put them away again, forget about the door. Buy a table and carry on as he had for the last two decades. In twenty years' time he'd be seventy, and from there he'd make it through the rest. Maybe he'd die prematurely.

    Coward.

    He tightened his trembling fist on the door handle.

    Slowly the tall man opened the door. He pushed it softly inward, screwed up his eyes and . . .

    Nothing but moonlight and dry air. He breathed it in through his nose, analyzing it, but found nothing.

    --'s smell has gone.

    Over the course of twenty-one summers, Monsieur Perdu had become as adept at avoiding thinking of -- as he was at stepping around open manholes.

    He mainly thought of her as --. As a pause amid the hum of his thoughts, as a blank in the pictures of the past, as a dark spot amid his feelings. He was capable of conjuring all kinds of gaps.

    Monsieur Perdu looked around. How quiet the room seemed. And pale despite the lavender-blue wallpaper. The passing of the years behind the closed door had squeezed the color from the walls.

    The light from the corridor met little that could...

About the Author-
  • NINA GEORGE works as a journalist, writer, and storytelling teacher. She is the award winning author of 26 books, and also writes feature articles, short stories, and columns. The Little Paris Bookshop spent over a year on bestseller lists in Germany, and was a bestseller in Italy, Poland, and the Netherlands. George is married to the writer Jens J. Kramer and lives in Hamburg and in Brittany, France.

    www.nina-george.com
    @nina_george • @jean_perdu

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 27, 2015
    A bookseller embarks on a quest for his own happy ending in George’s novel. Jean Perdu’s Literary Apothecary is unique among Paris bookshops, and not just because it’s a barge moored on the Seine. Perdu has the uncanny ability to prescribe the perfect book to cure any spiritual malady: heartbreak, loneliness, ennui. But for 21 years—ever since the woman he loved walked out of his life—Perdu has lived an ascetic, routine-filled existence, and he’s never opened the farewell letter she left for him. When he’s finally compelled to read it, the unexpected contents spur him to hoist his anchor and take the bookstore barge on a trip upriver to Avignon, in search of closure and forgiveness. Max Jordan, an eccentric young author paralyzed by writer’s block, hitches a ride as the boat is pulling out of port. Along the way the pair encounters a host of other quirky characters, who feed Perdu incredible cuisine, help unravel a long-unsolved literary mystery, and teach him to feel joy again. Though George’s prose is sometimes a bit overwrought and the “physician, heal thyself” plot device has been done to death, her cast of engaging characters keeps the story moving. Her sumptuous descriptions of both food and literature will leave readers unsure whether to run to the nearest library or the nearest bistro. Agent: Cecile Barendsma, Janklow & Nesbit Associates.

  • Oprah.com "If you're looking to be charmed right out of your own life for a few hours, sit down with this wise and winsome novel...Everything happens just as you want it to... from poignant moments to crystalline insights in exactly the right measure."
  • New York Times Book Review "[A] bona fide international hit."
  • Kirkus "Warmhearted...A charming novel that believes in the healing properties of fiction, romance, and a summer in the south of France."
  • Publishers Weekly "Engaging... [George's] sumptuous descriptions of both food and literature will leave readers unsure whether to run to the nearest library or the nearest bistro."
  • The Independent "Uplifting... An international best seller, this one will make you happy."
  • Sarah Pekkanen, author of Catching Air "The Little Paris Bookshop is an enchantment. Set in a floating barge along the Seine, this love letter to books - and to the complicated, sometimes broken people who are healed by them - is the next best thing to booking a trip to France."
  • Charlie Lovett, author of The Bookman's Tale "Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, Nina George's impressionistic prose takes the reader on a journey not just through the glories of France and the wonders of books, but through the encyclopedic panoply of human emotions. The Little Paris Bookshop is a book whose palette, textures, and aromas will draw you in and cradle you in the redemptive power of love."
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