Little Paris Bookshop (George)

The Little Paris Bookshop 
Nina George, (trans., Simon Pare) 2015
Crown Publishing Group
416 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780553418798



Summary
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 publisher.)



Author Bio
Birth—August 30, 1973
Where—Bielfeld, Germany
Education—high school
Awards—(see below)
Currently—lives in Concarneau, France


Nina George is a German writer, most recently known as the author of The Little Paris Bookshop (2015), an international bestseller, that has been translated in more than 28 languages. All told, she has published more than 25 books (novels, mysteries and non-fiction), as well as over one hundred short stories.

As a cop reporter, columnist and managing editor, George has also published more than 600 columns. She has worked as a for a wide range of publications, including Hamburger Abendblatt, Die Welt, Der Hamburger, as well as TV Movie and Federwelt.

Life and work
George dropped out of school in 1991 before finishing high school and worked in various catering establishments from the age of fourteen. Since 1993, she has written as a freelance journalist and columnist for magazines like Cosmopolitan, Penthouse, TV Movie, Frau im Trend. In 1997, she wrote her first book, Good Girls Do It in Bed, Bad Ones Everywhere, under the pseudonym Anne West. She was living in Hamburg. In 2008, she appeared under the name Nina Kramer in Thriller A Life Without Me about women's reproductive health.

It was after her father's death that George wrote The Little Paris Bookshop, a semi-autobiographical novel, which talks about bibliotherapy, how the fear of death holds us back from living life to the fullest, the mourning process, and travel on river boat from Paris to the south of Provence.

The novel also contains meta-literary references to many famous works and authors, including Erich Kästner's idea of a list of books as remedies for different afflictions. At the end there's an appendix where she offers an alphabetical list of books and what she recommends them for, starting with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. She finds inspiration for her writing in reading authors such as Jon Kalman Stefansson, Anna Gavalda, Dominique Manotti, Erica Jong, and Dorothea Brande.

George lives in Concarneau in France with her husband Jo Kramer.

Pseudonyms
George writes under three pen-names. Under Anne West, she writes non-fiction about issues of love, sexuality and eroticism. Under Nina Kramer, her married name, she wrote a thriller in 2008. She also wrote detective novels with her husband and co-writer Jo Kramer, their pseudonym being Jean Bagnol.

Awards
In 2012 and 2013 she won the DeLiA and the Glauser-Prize. Her first bestselling novel The Little Paris Bookshop (first published in German as "Das Lavendelzimmer" on May 2, 2013).

Associations
George is a member of PEN, Das Syndikat (association of German-language crime writers), the Association of German Authors (VS), the Hamburg Authors’ Association (HAV), BücherFrauen (Women in Publishing), the IACW/AIEP (International Association of Crime Writers), the GEDOK (Association of female artists in Germany), PRO QUOTE and Lean In. Nina George sits on the board of the Three Seas Writers’ and Translators’ Council (TSWTC), whose members come from 16 different countries.

In 2014, she delivered the keynote address in Berlin at the German Writer’s Conference to 140 attending writers. (Adapted from Wikipedia. Retrieved 8/19/2015.)



Book Reviews
Hits the sweet spot of bestsellers—it’s about old Europe, it’s about a bookseller, it’s got Paris in the title…and it’s got that kind of woo-woo mystical thing going on, like that other big translated fiction title The Alchemist.
New York Times Book Review


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


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)


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.
Publishers Weekly


This newly translated German bestseller is a warmhearted, occasionally sentimental account of letting go of the old loves to make room for new.... A charming novel that believes in the healing properties of fiction, romance, and a summer in the south of France.
Kirkus Reviews



Discussion Questions
1. "Memories are like wolves. You can’t lock them away and hope they leave you alone." The Little Paris Bookshop begins when Monsieur Perdu opens the room he’s kept sealed off for two decades. What are your first impressions of Perdu, and do you think he’s justified in shutting out the past?
 
2. "Perdu reflected that it was a common misconception that booksellers looked after books. They looked after people." Monsieur Perdu helps countless people find books that heal them. In your life, have you ever felt that a book restored you to yourself? If there was a Literary Apothecary where you lived, would you visit?
 
3. In Chapter 3, Perdu refuses to sell a copy of Max Jordan’s Night to a customer, because he feels it would upset her. How would you react if this happened to you? Is there such thing as a dangerous book?
 
4. On their journey South, Perdu forges a powerful friendship with both Max and Cuneo. What do the three characters teach each other?

5. The death of the deer is an emotionally charged scene that serves to ignite something within Perdu. What do you think it represented for the three men?
 
6. We come to know Manon through Perdu’s account of her, and her travel diary. What did you think of her as a character? Do you believe it is possible to love more than one person at once, as she does?

7. In Chapter 32, Samy says there are three kinds of love: sexual love, logical love, and a love that "comes from your chest or your solar plexus, or somewhere in between." What do you think she means by this, and do you agree?
 
8. The time to mourn, or "hurting time," becomes important for nearly every character in The Little Paris Bookshop. Do you believe a period of grieving is necessary when a loved one is lost? Does it depend on the circumstances in which they left your life?
 
9. Perdu finally arrives in Bonnieux, where he asks Manon’s husband Luc for forgiveness. Does Luc provide Perdu with the sense of closure he lacks? Does Perdu offer anything to Luc?
 
10. The text that is perhaps most vital to Perdu’s emotional journey is Sanary’s Southern Lights. Were you surprised to discover the author’s true identity? Why or why not?
 
11. The novel includes pages from Manon’s journal, letters between Perdu and Catherine, recipes, and a reading list. Did these artifacts make your reading experience a richer one?
 
12. Love and friendship, the power of stories to heal—of these, what do you think this novel is most about?
(Questions issued by the publisher.)

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