Thursday, 15 March 2018

The Little Paris Bookshop - Nina George

You know when you start a book and it doesn't "fit"?  The book I read before this one was like that, so when finished, I needed something lovely to read.  And what a treat I found in The Little Paris Bookshop, despite the 6% on UK Amazon who didn't seem to get it at all.....  and the Good Reads contributor who said "I thought this was a romance.....".  Well, you know what they say - "one man's meat is another man's poison".
 Translated from the German, this book has a rather misleading title and I don't think that is the fault of the translator! Yes, it is partly about a bookshop, and yes,  the bookshop is in Paris at the start of the story.  But it's a bookshop on a barge, moored on the River Seine, owned by a very reserved man who enjoys his customers getting the right book;  but very little else in his life.  A woman left him twenty years ago, he just awoke one morning and she was gone.  This event left him morose, with a dislike of friendship, of human contact, and it may have been that way for ever more but two things happened.  First, a middle aged woman moves into an empty apartment in his block.  The Consierge asks does he have any furniture to spare?  "A table would do", for she comes with nothing, her husband having upped and left with a younger model  and the locks to their home changed, her clothes in a single suitcase on the door step.  Second, a young man, who has become a best selling author whilst abhoring all the fuss, becomes a visitor to the bookshop. Those two events become catalysts in a story about love.  The table which the bookseller does pass on to the new neighbour contains a letter.   A letter from the woman who left him, and that he could not  bring himself to open.  For 21 years.  And so, casting off the barge with himself , two cats and the young author aboard, he sets out to find out the truth of the contents of that letter, to find himself, to find friends, and to find what kinds of love there are in the world. 
 I loved the story.  I loved the fact that there is a diary which makes an appearance from time to time.  I loved the bits about real books.  I loved the new friends he made and their support for him.   I loved this rather morose man, who wants dearly to break free from his 21 years of solitude.  I also loved some very nice recipes indeed at the end;  and the glossary of books that are mentioned within.  I had a little tear too, at the last part of that diary - but that's OK, this is not a sloppy book, just a book about love in all it's guises.