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.
Finally Perdu 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.
We have started the year with a positive response to this month’s book. Everyone, without exception, found Little Paris Bookshop to be a delightful read that scored high in the enjoyment stakes. Mind you, there were varying degrees of enthusiasm – from extreme pleasure to mild enjoyment.
Either way, we had a wonderful discussion concerning many points, such as … the quirky, flamboyant characters, the ‘oh so French’ sense of place, philosophy, lyrical prose and the question of translations (Paris was translated from German) and how they interpret, to name just a few.
As a whole, our group loved the idea of Perdu and his floating library. The connection between books and people is always a popular theme with us and we love references to reading material in novels. Some of us would have liked this explored a little more, but this small remiss did not distract from the story in any way. If there was any real criticism it would be Perdu’s self-absorption, with a tendency towards repetition when it came to the loss of his one true love, Manon.
A large majority of our group have travelled in France and felt the description of the country side, canals, lochs and villages were very well done. So much so that one just wanted to ‘close your eyes and open them again in France!’
High praise for a light, yet intelligent novel that is a big contender for best read of 2016 … although it is early days yet!