Sylvia is an American girl who moves to Paris in hopes of opening her very own bookstore. Shakespeare and Company isn’t like the other bookstores in Paris, it is an English novel selling and lending bookstore that quickly becomes famous for the authors that like to gather and chat amongst themselves there. One such author is James Joyce, who agrees to have Sylvia help him publish his novel Ulysses.
The Paris Bookstore was a slow read for me. I found myself struggling to get into the novel even though I understood and appreciated Sylvias position as a new bookstore owner: The process it took for her to open Shakespeare and Company and the many hats she wore once it was up and running. The times that I did enjoy The Paris Bookstore were when her lover Adrianne was mentioned, famous authors were introduced, or when she discussed her ideas and the process of opening Shakespeare and Company.
The Paris Bookseller, by Kerri Maher, tells the story of the real-life Sylvia Beach in sort of a historical non-fiction take. The story of the bookstore itself, along with the struggle to publish the controversial Ulysses, is very interesting. I would have loved if the pacing of the book could have been a little quicker, as the details bogged it down some. If you are interested in this famous bookstore, the authors that frequented it (James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, etc.), or the intricacies of getting a script through publication, then please give The Paris Bookseller a try.
-The Inside Story