The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel by Nina GeorgeThe Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel by Nina George

The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel

byNina George

Paperback | March 22, 2016

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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.
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 ...
Title:The Little Paris Bookshop: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 7.98 × 5.17 × 0.87 inPublished:March 22, 2016Publisher:Crown/ArchetypeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0553418793

ISBN - 13:9780553418798

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful story! A journey of self and healing that is told is a wonderful, energetic, engaging way. You cannot help but cheer for Monsieur Perdu, who is lovable and so lovely! For anyone who loves books or loves to read, this is a must! Makes a beautiful gift.
Date published: 2018-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful story! A journey of self and healing that is told is a wonderful, energetic, engaging way. You cannot help but cheer for Monsieur Perdu, who is lovable and so lovely! For anyone who loves books or loves to read, this is a must! Makes a beautiful gift.
Date published: 2018-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Enjoyable Easy Read I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The book shop in Paris, Perdu, Max, all of the lovely characters , the book references, the lovely places where they stopped. The loss of love, the love of books, the beautiful all captured my heart, attention and imagination!
Date published: 2018-03-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh Thought it would be a fun light read, but it was hard to get through... overly sentimental mush, plot dragged, not a very compelling read, even for a light romcom. Skip it.
Date published: 2018-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You can judge a book by the cover Like many others, I picked up this book based on the title, because come on, who doesn't want to go to a book shop in Paris? I really enjoyed this book, the characters are interesting and there were many surprising twists and turns I didn't see coming. I would highly recommend. Grab some tea and a blanket and curl up with this book.
Date published: 2018-01-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A really good read I really enjoyed reading this book. It had moments of long-winded description that I felt like skimming over. But ultimately, it was the characters I fell in love with. I felt part of their journey. Very touching for those who have ever loved and lost.
Date published: 2017-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Please give this book a try As others the title of the book reached out and grabbed me. I came skidding to a halt in the book store when I saw it and had to get it. I LOVED this book. From start to finish. It caused me to think about things in a different way, to appreciate even more the little things in life and of course to have my eyes opened to many new authors and book titles. I've got a Donna Leon book to read this weekend and before Bookshop I'd never even heard the writers' name before. Give this book a chance. It is so worth it. I am actually even going to reread it. And I highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2017-10-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing I really wanted to love this book as it caught my eye and has been calling to me to read. I love books about Paris, love and finding ones' self, but soemthing just didn't click with me and this book. It starts out well, but it seemed to just drag to the point I was drifting in and out of paying attention to the words. It's not horrible, just not great. But, if you can stick it out and put up with the quirky characters, give it a go.
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I wanted to love it, but... I really wanted to love this book. Heck, I really wanted to like this book. It had been sitting on my Goodreads “to-read” list for 2 years and when I found it at a book sale (when a friend shoved it into my hands because she had liked it so much), it seemed like fate. Plus, it's a book about books and the people who love them. This MUST be my kind of book, right?! Wrong, sadly. Don’t get me wrong, this book isn’t terrible. It isn’t even bad. It just isn’t good. THE FIRST HALF: The book’s emotionally lost protagonist is named Mr. Perdu, French for – you guessed it – lost. That alone irks me because it’s annoyingly obvious, like naming a would-be queen Regina, or naming a child with a perfect disposition Sunny. If it were done in a sort of tongue-in-cheek way (e.g. Rowling), it might be forgivable, but it wasn’t; it’s just so cloyingly basic - and she spells it in its adjective form to make it all the more obvious instead of its traditional surname form (Perdue). Ugh! Perdu, as adept as he is at self-flagellation, won’t read the letter his beloved left when she disappeared? This is pretty much the least believable part of the book’s premise because it’s as contra to his personality as possible. And Perdu is so entrenched in his own little world of misery and predictability that he alphabetizes his food. I think George could do with some basic psychology training, frankly. As a protagonist, I also find him annoying. He spends over 20 years in misery because his girlfriend left him without any explanation (other than the letter that he refused to read), and then is miserable with himself - after finally reading the letter – because he never read the letter in the first place. In those two decades, he never actually tried to get beyond it, never tried to find any sort of happiness. Perdu is a man who enjoys his own misery, yet is written as some tragic hero for whom the reader ought to feel sympathy. Someone who is that miserable for that long after having been left by a partner is someone who places too much importance on the relationship for it to be healthy. I don’t feel sorry for Perdu. I don't even like him. The supporting characters aren't really any better. Literally every single person Perdu comes across is a bit of a cute, glaringly quirky oddball. While most of us are in fact a little bit odd, our oddities usually don't immediately show through to every person we meet the exact second we meet them. It's just all too much. Lastly, his weird little romance with Catherine was terribly unbelievable. We know nothing about her, then she finds the letter, they have dinner, almost sleep together, then they’re in love? What? Ugh! THE SECOND HALF: This half was better, admittedly. But the nearly 200 pages it took to get to it felt far longer than they should have. This half was also a predictable yawn, and like the first half, overly saccharine. The only good part is that Jean Perdu finally got over himself.
Date published: 2017-07-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good I really liked this book, but felt like I was not feeling as much as I should with regards to the different emotions and circumstances that was written. I think this is a book that needs to be read more than once.
Date published: 2017-05-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Just okay I'm sure I could have enjoyed this book more than I did had I not been daydreaming about France through most of it. The plot was a little dry and the characters none too exciting. I was more than a little confused when certain characters popped into the story but went with the flow anyway. I suppose the book follows a nice love story from beginning to end, but it left me wanting more.
Date published: 2017-04-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great idea. Poor translation/execution I cannot decide whether it was the translation or the execution of this story that fell flat, but the idea was beautiful until it began to unfold (unravel). Character development seemed assumed, and therefore undeveloped; a similar sense of "did I miss something?" glazed over the relationships, which seemed to come together in an all too unrealistic manner in every instance with dialogue that was often forced, too pseudo-poetic to be real -- I found myself asking "do people really talk like this...?" Many of the descriptions, while likely beautiful in the original German, were lacking in English (at least I hope that is where things went wrong, the author is an acclaimed journalist and story teller...) I forced myself to finish this book. The recipes at the back are a fun idea, and the short reviews at must-read books is cute... Overall, though, I feel this story promised so much more than it delivered...
Date published: 2017-04-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Escapism It's a lovely journey that moves slowly. Something to crawl into with a hot cup of tea and just let it steep slowly - Both the book and the tea. It's a quiet and slow read but still satisfying if you're looking for emotional character development that can be agonizing at times. It's a soft recommendation.
Date published: 2017-03-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Took too long When they set sail I was bored, for whatever reason I started thinking Life of Pi and just started reading another book, maybe I'll finish it one day as it is my dream to open an independent bookstore and the novel has some amazing reviews...unsure #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good but very slow Thought I would really like this book, but I had a hard time getting into it. The premise of a bookshop on a converted barge where the owner can pick up a move whenever he wants... Well, it kept me reading until I finally became invested in the story and the characters. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Didn't capture me I was really drawn in by the cover of the book but have struggled to read it
Date published: 2017-03-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Trying too hard A philosophical look at life, love, and loss and how to rebuild ourselves after trauma and heartbreak. Great characters but less a cozy book storey and more of an author trying too hard to sound smart and high brow. 2.75/5
Date published: 2017-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A beautiful book This book is by far the most beautiful story I have ever written. The characters are rich and complex. The plotlines are full and are both funny and heart-wrenching. The journey through France is stunning. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves books, food, travel, and people.
Date published: 2017-03-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Beware the Enticing Cover.... An agonizing read. Beware the charming title & beautiful cover. It's only a 2 star book. Not recommended.
Date published: 2017-02-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Magical realism at its finest This was such a satisfying book. I think anyone who has had a star-crossed love and is a little ways from their youthful years will love it as much as I did. Beautifully written.
Date published: 2017-02-22
Rated 1 out of 5 by from So disappointing! The title and cover of this book caught my eye. The premise was exciting and full of potential - I mean, a bookseller who *prescribes* books to his "patients"?! That's awesome! It wasn't awesome, though, it was very misleading because that wasn't really what it was about at all. It's really about how said bookseller works through his own 20-year-old grief. It was incredibly slow and boring and took me months to get through, only managing to read little bits at a time. I found the characters to be flat and the "adventure" uninteresting. Really disappointed in this book!
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A gem. A beautiful thoughtful book about time and loss and what could have been. And then the journey of discovery along the waterways for the two men. A well written wonderful story. Favourite book of 2016
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Dissapointing The synopsis is misleading and the story itself is a disappointment. The book tries to be deep and thoughtful, but doesn't quite manage it, instead I found the story trite and it seemed like the author was trying too hard. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-26
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Okay read I could not connect to this book. I found the main character annoying and struggled to finish the book. It was an okay book but I wouldn't recommend
Date published: 2017-01-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Left wanting .. This book was disappointing and a little misleading. The bookshop the title refers to quickly disappears from the story, and the story, while beautifully worded, dragged on at times. I half read and half listened to the story and I'm really glad I listened to it as well. The main characters of Jean, Max, and Manon were each individually voiced and it gave the book a bit more character. I would still recommend this book to someone who likes to indulge in stories that aren't fast-paced and instead takes time in describing every sight, sound, smell, and taste. It just wasn't for me - I'm a fast reader and want the story to be fast as well.
Date published: 2016-12-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from I wanted to love this... I wanted to love this book so much and considering the synopsis I was sure that I would, but although some minor parts captivated me, the majority unfortunately did not keep my attention and I ended up skimming through the rest of the book. It did however have some really good and beautiful lines that I've kept in a note such as: <b><i>"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 void. Like a short, torrid love affair."</i></b> I feel so bad that I didn't really like this book and I feel like I just don't have the right perception of it :(
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh. Lack of connection. I expected a lot more substance than this book delivered. There were a few quotes and journal entries from Manon that were well written and I wish there had been more of those in the general storyline. It's slow moving and more like a drug store romance that anything else. I lived in France and expected to be stirred by a connection and wasn't. I see by the reviews I am not alone.
Date published: 2016-12-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Have patience with this one This book took some time to get into. There was a lot of character development and space where not much happened. However, by the middle of the book, I was hooked. And by the end, I was bawling. Give it a chance, you may not regret it.
Date published: 2016-11-17
Rated 1 out of 5 by from boring This book was super long, and quite boring. Not much happened, and I didn't identify with any of the characters. I didn't feel anything for them. It was not the book lover book I was looking for
Date published: 2016-11-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Disappointed I loved the cover of this book and thought the premise sounded really good. But as others before me have said, it ended up being disappointing. Perhaps my expectations were too high. The idea of a floating bookshop in France was very appealing but the main character was very hard to like. Perhaps something was lost in the translation of this book? I would not go out of my way to recommend it however I would not dissuade anyone from reading. I think this is one of those books that you will either like or hate, there's not much room for in between.
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mixed Feelings I wasn't super into some of the characters (similarly written in dialogue, only some weird outlandish quirks that separated them) but I thought the writing was absolutely beautiful. Poetic and very atmospheric.
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from BORING>>>>>> A sorry boring book......
Date published: 2016-08-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from somewhat disappointing This book didn't quite live up to my expectations - at all. I found it hard to relate to the main character. The book is pretty sappy and idealistic. The idea of a floating bookshop was neat, but the waxing on and on about love (more like infatuation) got tiresome. The last bit was more interesting when more characters entered the scene and there was some variety, but still fell short over all. It's not perfect for book lovers, there aren't that many interesting talks among the sailing group, and it's not exactly "wise and winsome" as the cover indicates. If you're a complete romantic, then you might enjoy it though. I guess I'm just more accustomed to down to earth men..
Date published: 2016-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Charming Journey Loved this book. Not at all what I had expected; Monsieur Perdu is initially a tough character to fall in love with, let alone like - how more depressing can one person be? But with every turn of the page you learn a little more and your initial reaction quickly changes from non-committed to committed. This charming read had me laughing out loud in many spots as you get so involved in the back-and-forth between this motley crew of men on their journey through stubborn, self-destruction and stupidity to their realization of time wasted, loves lost and the possibility of moving forward in happiness.
Date published: 2016-06-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointing The title caught my eye, being a book lover, and the premise seemed interesting. However, it was a real effort to read and didn't draw me in as I had expected. I struggled with it for many chapters then "speed-read" to finish it. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
Date published: 2016-06-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Pass I picked up this book last month because I loved the premise. When I read through the book I found that the story line dragged. I know its a fiction novel, but some of things that happened during the journey were so far-fetched that started to lose interest in the book and was skimming through sections in the last quarter just so that I could say that I finished the book.
Date published: 2016-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A book lover's paradise!! The cast of characters, the idea of a floating book store, of a letter that has been unanswered for 20 years and an adventure that begins just by being a good neighbour to another lost soul....this book has all of this and more. Couldn't put it down, it had me hooked from the beginning.
Date published: 2016-05-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If books be the food of love, read on... A book about books set in Paris that reminded us of the gorgeous and very real Shakespeare and Company book emporium on the banks of the Seine. Magical First of all, the idea of a floating book shop is like paradise to us. A bookseller who recommends books to solve people’s problems (what the best booksellers do as books are very much like medicine and are often a much better tonic!) We loved the whole idea behind the story – the magic of books and how books can cure all ills. There’s an author with writer’s block who travels with him and the discussions they have along the way, the people they meet and their quirky bookish adventure were fun to read and imagine ourselves on that gorgeous book barge! There is one quote amongst all the quirky advice, recipes and other wordly advice connected to books we loved but what we particularly loved was advice on how to arrange your reads He should group them by theme instead. Everything about Italy in one corner:cookbooks, who dunnits by Donna Leon, novels, illustrated books, essays on Leonardo…. The booktrail philosophy if ever we heard it! And a book to pick up again and again when you need a moment, a friendly piece of advice and to be reminded of the beautiful book barge and its literary cures for life. Totally recommended and already cherished!
Date published: 2016-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love never dies Most insightful and profound treatment of a very difficult subject; What happens to love when one of the lovers dies? Beautifully written with artistic description of the settings and very sensitive handling of happiness and sorrow. Loved it totally!
Date published: 2015-08-26

Read from the Book

1How 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 cast a shadow. A bistro chair. The kitchen table. A vase with the lavender stolen two decades earlier from the Valensole plateau. And a fifty-year-old man who now sat down on the chair and wrapped his arms around himself.There had once been curtains, and over there, pictures, flowers and books, a cat called Castor that slept on the sofa. There were candlesticks and whispering, full wineglasses and music. Dancing shadows on the wall, one of them tall, the other strikingly beautiful. There had been love in this room.Now there’s only me.He clenched his fists and pressed them against his burning eyes.Monsieur Perdu swallowed and swallowed again to fight back the tears. His throat was too tight to breathe and his back seemed to glow with heat and pain.When he could once more swallow without it hurting, Monsieur Perdu stood up and opened the casement window. Aromas came swirling in from the back courtyard.The herbs from the Goldenbergs’ little garden. Rosemary and thyme mixed with the massage oils used by Che, the blind chiropodist and “foot whisperer.” Added to that, the smell of pancakes intermingled with Kofi’s spicy and meaty African barbecued dishes. Over it all drifted the perfume of Paris in June, the fragrance of lime blossom and expectation.But Monsieur Perdu wouldn’t let these scents affect him. He resisted their charms. He’d become extremely good at ignoring anything that might in any way arouse feelings of yearning. Aromas. Melodies. The beauty of things.He fetched soap and water from the storeroom next to the bare kitchen and began to clean the wooden table.He fought off the blurry picture of himself sitting at this table, not alone but with ——.He washed and scrubbed and ignored the piercing question of what he was meant to do now that he had opened the door to the room in which all his love, his dreams and his past had been buried.Memories are like wolves. You can’t lock them away and hope they leave you alone.Monsieur Perdu carried the narrow table to the door and heaved it through the bookcase, past the magic mountains of paper onto the landing and over to the apartment across the hall.As he was about to knock, a sad sound reached his ears.Stifled sobbing, as if through a cushion.Someone was crying behind the green door.A woman. And she was crying as though she wanted nobody, absolutely nobody, to hear.2“She was married to You-Know-Who, Monsieur Le P.”He didn’t know. Perdu didn’t read the Paris gossip pages.Madame Catherine Le P.-You-Know-Who had come home late one Thursday evening from her husband’s art agency, where she took care of his PR. Her key no longer fit into the lock, and there was a suitcase on the stairs with divorce papers on top of it. Her husband had moved to an unknown address and taken the old furniture and a new woman with him.Catherine, soon-to-be-ex-wife-of-Le-Dirty-Swine, possessed nothing but the clothes she had brought into their marriage—and the realization that it had been naïve of her to think that their erstwhile love would guarantee decent treatment after their separation, and to assume that she knew her husband so well that he could no longer surprise her.“A common mistake,” Madame Bernard, the lady of the house, had pontificated in between puffing out smoke signals from her pipe. “You only really get to know your husband when he walks out on you.”Monsieur Perdu had not yet seen the woman who’d been so coldheartedly ejected from her own life.Now he listened to the lonely sobs she was desperately trying to muffle, perhaps with her hands or a tea towel. Should he announce his presence and embarrass her? He decided to fetch the vase and the chair first.He tiptoed back and forth between his flat and hers. He knew how treacherous this proud old house could be, which floorboards squeaked, which walls were more recent and thinner additions and which concealed ducts that acted like megaphones.When he pored over his eighteen-thousand-piece map of the world jigsaw in the otherwise empty living room, the sounds of the other residents’ lives were transmitted to him through the fabric of the house.The Goldenbergs’ arguments (Him: “Can’t you just for once . . . ? Why are you . . . ? Haven’t I . . . ?” Her: “You always have to . . . You never do . . . I want you to . . .”) He’d known the two of them as newlyweds. They’d laughed together a lot back then. Then came the children, and the parents drifted apart like continents.He heard Clara Violette’s electric wheelchair rolling over carpet edges, wooden floors and doorsills. He remembered the young pianist back when she was able to dance.He heard Che and young Kofi cooking. Che was stirring the pots. The man had been blind since birth, but he said that he could see the world through the fragrant trails and traces that people’s feelings and thoughts had left behind. Che could sense whether a room had been loved or lived or argued in.Perdu also listened every Sunday to how Madame Bomme and the widows’ club giggled like girls at the dirty books he slipped them behind their stuffy relatives’ backs.The snatches of life that could be overheard in the house at number 27 Rue Montagnard were like a sea lapping the shores of Perdu’s silent isle.He had been listening for more than twenty years. He knew his neighbors so well that he was sometimes amazed by how little they knew about him (not that he minded). They had no idea that he owned next to no furniture apart from a bed, a chair and a clothes rail—no knickknacks, no music, no pictures or photo albums or three-piece suite or crockery (other than for himself)—or that he had chosen such simplicity of his own free will. The two rooms he still occupied were so empty that they echoed when he coughed. The only thing in the living room was the giant jigsaw puzzle on the floor. His bedroom was furnished with a bed, the ironing board, a reading light and a garment rail on wheels containing three identical sets of clothing: gray trousers, white shirt, brown V-neck sweater. In the kitchen were a stove-top coffee pot, a tin of coffee and a shelf stacked with food. Arranged in alphabetical order. Maybe it was just as well that no one saw this.And yet he harbored a strange affection for 27 Rue Montagnard’s residents. He felt inexplicably better when he knew that they were well—and in his unassuming way he tried to make a contribution. Books were a means of helping. Otherwise he stayed in the background, a small figure in a painting, while life was played out in the foreground.However, the new tenant on the third floor, Maximilian Jordan, wouldn’t leave Monsieur Perdu in peace. Jordan wore specially made earplugs with earmuffs over them, plus a woolly hat on cold days. Ever since the young author’s debut novel had made him famous amid great fanfare, he’d been on the run from fans who would have given their right arms to move in with him. Meanwhile, Jordan had developed a peculiar interest in Monsieur Perdu.While Perdu was on the landing arranging the chair beside the kitchen table, and the vase on top, the crying stopped.In its place he heard the squeak of a floorboard that someone was trying to walk across without making it creak.He peered through the pane of frosted glass in the green door. Then he knocked twice, very gently.A face moved closer. A blurred, bright oval.“Yes?” the oval whispered.“I’ve got a chair and a table for you.”The oval said nothing.I have to speak softly to her. She’s cried so much she’s probably all dried out and she’ll crumble if I’m too loud.“And a vase. For flowers. Red flowers, for instance. They’d look really pretty on the white table.”He had his cheek almost pressed up against the glass.He whispered, “But I can give you a book as well.”The light in the staircase went out.“What kind of book?” the oval whispered.“The consoling kind.”“I need to cry some more. I’ll drown if I don’t. Can you understand that?”“Of course. Sometimes you’re swimming in unwept tears and you’ll go under if you store them up inside.” And I’m at the bottom of a sea of tears. “I’ll bring you a book for crying then.”“When?”“Tomorrow. Promise me you’ll have something to eat and drink before you carry on crying.”He didn’t know why he was taking such liberties. It must be something to do with the door between them.The glass misted up with her breath.“Yes,” she said. “Yes.”When the hall light flared on again, the oval shrank back.Monsieur Perdu laid his hand briefly on the glass where her face had been a second before.And if she needs anything else, a chest of drawers or a potato peeler, I’ll buy it and claim I had it already.He went into his empty flat and pushed the bolt across. The door leading into the room behind the bookcase was still open. The longer Monsieur Perdu looked in there, the more it seemed as though the summer of 1992 were rising up out of the floor. The cat jumped down from the sofa on soft, velvet paws and stretched. The sunlight caressed a bare back, the back turned and became ——. She smiled at Monsieur Perdu, rose from her reading position and walked toward him naked, with a book in her hand.“Are you finally ready? asked ——.Monsieur Perdu slammed the door.No.3“No,” Monsieur Perdu said again the following morning. “I’d rather not sell you this book.”Gently he pried Night from the lady’s hand. Of the many novels on his book barge—the vessel moored on the Seine that he had named Literary Apothecary—she had inexplicably chosen the notorious bestseller by Maximilian “Max” Jordan, the earmuff wearer from the third floor in Rue Montagnard.The customer looked at the bookseller, taken aback.“Why not?”“Max Jordan doesn’t suit you.”“Max Jordan doesn’t suit me?”“That’s right. He’s not your type.”“My type. Okay. Excuse me, but maybe I should point out to you that I’ve come to your book barge for a book. Not a husband, mon cher Monsieur.”“With all due respect, what you read is more important in the long term than the man you marry, ma chère Madame.”She looked at him through eyes like slits.“Give me the book, take my money, and we can both pretend it’s a nice day.”“It is a nice day, and tomorrow is the start of summer, but you’re not going to get this book. Not from me. May I suggest a few others?”“Right, and flog me some old classic you’re too lazy to throw overboard where it can poison the fish?” She spoke softly to begin with, but her volume kept increasing.“Books aren’t eggs, you know. Simply because a book has aged a bit doesn’t mean it’s gone bad.” There was now an edge to Monsieur Perdu’s voice too. “What is wrong with old? Age isn’t a disease. We all grow old, even books. But are you, is anyone, worth less, or less important, because they’ve been around for longer?”“It’s absurd how you’re twisting everything, all because you don’t want me to have that stupid Night book.”The customer—or rather noncustomer—tossed her purse into her luxury shoulder bag and tugged at the zip, which got stuck.  Perdu felt something welling up inside him, a wild feeling, anger, tension—only it had nothing to do with this woman. He couldn’t hold his tongue, though. He hurried after her as she strode angrily through the belly of the book barge and called out to her in the half-light between the long bookshelves: “It’s your choice, Madame! You can leave and spit on me. Or you can spare yourself thousands of hours of torture starting right now.”“Thanks, that’s exactly what I’m doing.”“Surrender to the treasures of books instead of entering into pointless relationships with men, who neglect you anyway, or going on crazy diets because you’re not thin enough for one man and not stupid enough for the next.” “It’s absurd how you’re twisting everything, all because you don’t want me to have that stupid Night book.”The customer—or rather noncustomer—tossed her purse into her luxury shoulder bag and tugged at the zip, which got stuck.Perdu felt something welling up inside him, a wild feeling, anger, tension—only it had nothing to do with this woman. He couldn’t hold his tongue, though. He hurried after her as she strode angrily through the belly of the book barge and called out to her in the half-light between the long bookshelves: “It’s your choice, Madame! You can leave and spit on me. Or you can spare yourself thousands of hours of torture starting right now.”“Thanks, that’s exactly what I’m doing.”“Surrender to the treasures of books instead of entering into pointless relationships with men, who neglect you anyway, or going on crazy diets because you’re not thin enough for one man and not stupid enough for the next.”She stood stock-still by the large bay window that looked out over the Seine, and glared at Perdu. “How dare you!”“Books keep stupidity at bay. And vain hopes. And vain men. They undress you with love, strength and knowledge. It’s love from within. Make your choice: book or . . .”Before he could finish his sentence, a Parisian pleasure boat plowed past with a group of Chinese women standing by the railing under umbrellas. They began clicking away with their cameras when they caught sight of Paris’s famous floating Literary Apothecary. The pleasure boat drove brown-green dunes of water against the bank, and the book barge reeled.The customer teetered on her smart high heels, but instead of offering her his hand, Perdu handed her The Elegance of the Hedgehog.She made an instinctive grab for the novel and clung to it.Perdu held on to the book as he spoke to the stranger in a soothing, tender and calm voice.“You need your own room. Not too bright, with a kitten to keep you company. And this book, which you will please read slowly, so you can take the occasional break. You’ll do a lot of thinking and probably a bit of crying. For yourself. For the years. But you’ll feel better afterward. You’ll know that now you don’t have to die, even if that’s how it feels because the guy didn’t treat you well. And you will like yourself again and won’t find yourself ugly or naïve.”Only after delivering these instructions did he let go.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times BestsellerA Barnes and Noble Best of 2015 Selection A LibraryReads Favorite of the Favorites Selection"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."—“The settings are ideal for a summer-romance read…Who can resist floating on a barge through France surrounded by books, wine, love, and great conversation?”—Christian Science Monitor“[A] bona fide international hit.”—New York Times Book Review"Warmhearted...A charming novel that believes in the healing properties of fiction, romance, and a summer in the south of France."—Kirkus"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."—Publishers Weekly"Uplifting... An international best seller, this one will make you happy."—The Independent"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."—Sarah Pekkanen, author of Catching Air“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.”—Charlie Lovett, author of The Bookman’s Tale"Nina George tells us clever things about love, about reading that 'puts a bounce in your step,' about tango in Provence, and about truly good food. . . . One of those books that gets you thinking about whom you need to give it to as a gift even while you're still reading it, because it makes you happy and should be part of any well-stocked apothecary." —Hamburger Morgenpost (Germany)   “Enchanting and moving ... Rarely have I read such a beautiful book!”—Tina magazine (Germany) From the Hardcover edition.