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Read advance reader review of The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher, page 4 of 5

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The Paris Bookseller

by Kerri Maher

The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher X
The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher
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  • Published Jan 2022
    336 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Page 4 of 5
There are currently 33 member reviews
for The Paris Bookseller
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  • Laurie F. (Brookline, MA)
    Great Novel of a Great Bookstore Community in Paris
    A wonderful book about the original Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Kerri Maher, the author, introduces us to the amazing writers of the 1920s, their quirky personalities, and intellect, as they frequented Sylvia Beach's shop - particularly James Joyce. The reader feels like he/she is part of the Shakespeare and Company community as the author takes us into the camaraderie, relationships (both friendly and intimate), turmoil, and angst of living in that particular era in Paris. She contrasts the literary censorship and puritanical issues in the US against the artsy and liberal gay attitudes in Paris throughout the story.

    Highly recommend!
  • Toni B
    American Ex-Pats in Paris in 1920s
    A fascinating history of American Sylvia Beach and her bookstore, Shakespeare and Company. In Paris in the 1920s it became quite a hub for American writers living in Paris. This is also the story of how she became the first publisher of Joyce's "Ulysses" after it was banned in the US. It is quite an interesting tale.

    Another fascinating aspect of the book is how the LGBQT community lived quite openly in the 20's since same sex relations had been decriminalized since the French Revolution. Many of these men and women took their lifestyles and the openness of those relationships for granted in a way that many today still cannot.

    It was fascinating to explore other facets of the personalities of now famous authors :Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway,James Joyce , George Bernard Shaw to name a few.
    It might not have been a book that pulled me in and didn't let escape until I had finished it but it was a fascinating and interesting read which would especially appeal to other literary minded readers. Sylvia Beach deserved this story to be written and I am glad that I was fortunate enough to have read it.
  • Beth W. (Savannah, GA)
    Missing That Certain Spark
    There is much to anticipate when considering a novel about the wonderful bookstore Shakespeare and Company in Paris, but unfortunately, I struggled to finish this book. The storytelling lacked that certain spark that compels a reader to be unable to put the book down, and to eagerly anticipate picking it up again to resume the tale. Certainly the time period is interesting, the cast of characters includes not only the notable Sylvia Beach but also James Joyce and other celebrities of the era, the subject of censorship remains relevant - but somehow, it just didn't come together for me. I'm truly happy to see that many early readers did enjoy the book, but it just was not my cup of tea.
  • Sharon P. (San Diego, CA)
    Interesting but not fully engaging- 3.5 stars
    I so enjoy that this book was based on the real Shakespeare and Co. book store, which I have visited a few times. I found Sylvia's publishing of James Joyce's Ulysses fascinating, as well as their rift at the end of their business relationship. However, I felt the book was too romanized for my liking, leaving me a bit unengaged at times, I did like the book better as it went on and felt very satisfied with the ending, but the beginning was much less satisfying. The book is well written and overall enjoyable.
  • Barbara E. (Rockville, MD)
    A Tale of Ulysses
    The subject matter of this historical novel is fascinating: the founding of the English-language bookstore, Shakespeare and Company in Paris in 1919 and the life of the owner, Sylvia Beach. Sylvia meets and befriends the leading luminaries of the Parisian world of letters, including Ezra Pound and James Joyce. When Joyce's Ulysses is banned, Sylvia, at great personal risk, fights to publish this leading work of the 20th century. Unfortunately, I found the writing to be plodding, dull, and too staid, which made reading the book very slow going. As much as I wanted to like this book, I really cannot recommend it.
  • Julie P. (Fort Myers, FL)
    The Paris Bookseller
    Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres; I love reading about eras, people, and places I was previously unaware of. So reading about the literary life in Paris in the 1920s, the published authors, the up-and-coming writers, and the trials and tribulations involved in publishing James Joyce's novel Ulysses should have been fascinating. I had never heard of Sylvia Beach or her English-language bookstore, Shakespeare and Company. However, the book bogged down almost immediately; it was as if the author wanted to include every single writer or literary figure who crossed the threshold of Shakespeare and Company. And every single conversation. And every single time Sylvia fell into the arms of her lover, Adrienne. I wish it had been 100 pages shorter. Even then I'm not sure I wanted or needed to know that much about Sylvia Beach's life. For me, an article or two on the internet would have sufficed; however, I'm sure this novel will appeal to those who enjoy a detailed literary memoir.
  • Susan W. (Berkley, MI)
    Good book for fans of James Joyce but not my cup of tea
    Generally I enjoy historical fiction, either because I'm able to connect with one of the characters, whether they are real or fictional or because I'm drawn in by the plot, the time period, or the setting. Unfortunately The Paris Bookseller did not provide any of these for me.

    I think fans of James Joyce might enjoy seeing him from Sylvia's point of view. As most of the characters were real people, I suppose accuracy was more important than color. It was well written but lacked enough imagery for me. Book clubs may enjoy this book.


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