Young, bookish Sylvia Beach knows there is no greater city in the world than Paris. But when she opens an English-language bookshop on the bohemian Left Bank, Sylvia can’t yet know she is making history.
Many leading writers of the day, from Ernest Hemingway to Gertrude Stein, consider Shakespeare and Company a second home. Here some of the most profound literary friendships blossom – and none more so than between James Joyce and Sylvia herself.
When Joyce’s controversial novel Ulysses is banned, Sylvia determines to publish it through Shakespeare and Company. But the success and notoriety of publishing the most infamous book of the century comes at deep personal cost as Sylvia risks ruin, reputation and her heart in the name of the life-changing power of books…
The Paris Bookseller delves into the life of Sylvia Beach who founded the infamous Shakespeare and Company Bookshop in 1920s Paris, a bookshop devoted to selling and lending books written in English. I completely lost myself in the atmosphere of the book, it is so richly descriptive and I was completely captivated with Sylvia Beach’s life. I adored the Paris setting, in fact that was what drew me to the book in the first place. As always the mention of food piques my interest and my mouth was watering with some of the descriptions of the French cuisine. For romance lovers there is a lovely little love story incorporated within the pages, between Sylvia and Adrienne Monnier, another Parisian bookshop owner.
The book is a work of fiction and non-fiction, most of the dates are factually correct and whilst the author can only imagine what some of these famous writers were like she did an incredible job of bringing them to life. It is beautifully written with lots of wonderful details and it has been really well researched, you really get a sense of what is was like in this era.
This is a heartwarming and emotional read and also incredibly interesting learning about some of the history of Paris and this famous bookshop. Don’t miss the author’s note and bibliography at the end which outlines Sylvia Beach’s life post 1936, having lived quite a long life until she was 75 years old. A fascinating book which literature and history fans will treasure.
Publisher: Headline Review
Publication Date (UK): 11 January 2022
Page Count: 328
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Historical Fiction
Thank you to the publisher for the eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Please do not hesitate to comment below if you liked my review or have any comments about this book 😊