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The Paris Hours: Book summary and reviews of The Paris Hours by Alex George

The Paris Hours

A Novel

by Alex George

The Paris Hours by Alex George X
The Paris Hours by Alex George
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  • Publishes in USA 
    May 5, 2020
    272 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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About this book

Book Summary

Told over the course of a single day in 1927, The Paris Hours takes four ordinary people whose stories, told together, are as extraordinary as the glorious city they inhabit.

One day in the City of Lights. One night in search of lost time.

Paris between the wars teems with artists, writers, and musicians, a glittering crucible of genius. But amidst the dazzling creativity of the city's most famous citizens, four regular people are each searching for something they've lost.

Camille was the maid of Marcel Proust, and she has a secret: when she was asked to burn her employer's notebooks, she saved one for herself. Now she is desperate to find it before her betrayal is revealed. Souren, an Armenian refugee, performs puppet shows for children that are nothing like the fairy tales they expect. Lovesick artist Guillaume is down on his luck and running from a debt he cannot repay―but when Gertrude Stein walks into his studio, he wonders if this is the day everything could change. And Jean-Paul is a journalist who tells other people's stories, because his own is too painful to tell. When the quartet's paths finally cross in an unforgettable climax, each discovers if they will find what they are looking for.

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Media Reviews

"George masterfully concocts a story of people seeking solace, redemption, and answers to the questions that plague them. Like All the Light We Cannot See, The Paris Hours explores the brutality of war and its lingering effects with cinematic intensity. The ending will leave you breathless." - Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train and A Piece of the World

"A feast of the human soul. In this stunning novel, George goes behind the glitter of Paris in 1927 and takes you to the rooftops, the skinny alleyways, the flower-strewn parks, and darkened bar rooms to mine the wisdom of humanity. Beautifully rendered; gorgeously told." - Jessica Keener, author of Strangers In Budapest

"The kind of novel I always dream about finding: a completely engrossing story that had me canceling plans. I read The Paris Hours without pausing, desperate to see if these marvelous characters could escape the ache of their past. And I gasped when I got to the end." - Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club and Books for Living

"Although Josephine Baker, Marcel Proust, Ernest Hemingway, and Gertrude Stein drift along the edges of this exquisitely written, lovely jewel of a book, the characters who win our true affection are those created with appealing sympathy by George." - George Hodgman, author of Bettyville

"George writes movingly of human connection, lost and found. His vivid portrayal of lives intersecting in early 20th century Paris will delight you with its lyricism and touch you with its humanity. The main protagonists are so beautifully drawn they will haunt you long after you reach the end." - Melanie Benjamin, author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and Mistress of the Ritz

"A thrilling, irresistible marvel. In lyrical prose, George weaves together memory, loss, and yearning, portraying his characters with such vivid immediacy that I could imagine myself walking beside them along the winding streets of Paris, sharing their stories. Riveting, heartbreaking, and compassionate." - Lauren Belfer, author of City of Light and And After the Fire

"A journey of memory, The Paris Hours is a sensory feast that had me gobbling pages and dreaming myself into the heyday of Paris prestige. You know a novel is great when you finish reading and wish the fiction could be true history." - Sarah McCoy, author of Marilla of Green Gables

"The Paris Hours is a kaleidoscope of a novel: intricately constructed, glittering with color and history, playful, poignant, and a joy to hold in your hands. I was transported, seduced, and ultimately moved by spending this day with George's rich and big-hearted imagination." - Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men

"The Paris Hours weaves together the moving tales of four disparate lives in an ending so stunning I was compelled to return to the beginning and read it again. Kudos, Alex George!" - Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank

The information about The Paris Hours shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Shelley C. (Eastport, NY)

A Slice of Paris in the 20's
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I've been to Paris five times and am in love with the city. Mr. George did a great job bringing the heart and soul of Paris to life and making it one of the essential characters. I could smell the aromas and hear the accordion song that is so much a part of this special place.

Mr. George's prose is lovely and his characters compelling. He brought to life an essential part of Paris history in the '20's, when so many Americans came to explore and hone their creativity.

I truly recommend The Paris Hours. It was a wonderful read.

Lesley F. (San Diego, CA)

In Search of Lost Time
Proust would have liked the connection. Midnight in Paris came to mind immediately because again those famous folk drift by. Four souls searching for something lost - time (or people) - after WWI, are each introduced chapter by chapter and then we revisit for more detail. Getting the backstory of the four meant I went back a couple of times to be sure I knew who was who but after that it was captivating. Four great stories for the price of one, as the day in Paris continues. The author has written poetically. The young Armenian thinks that French is "...a language fat with grammatical and idiomatic peculiarities. Even the simplest sentence contains traps for the unwary." Many such comments made me laugh because the two languages I speak, French and English, are absolutely that! The author makes many remarks through his characters that reference other literature. He has created a feast of literary fun. He owns a bookstore!!! What's not to love?

P.S. Thank you for keeping the Armenian story alive.

Bev C. (Latrobe, PA)

The Paris Hours
The narratives within depict one day in Paris in the summer of 1927 and the penetrating experiences of 4 individuals, each "searching for something they've lost."

Secrets and stories, too painful to be told outright, delicately unfold. The novel is beautifully written. Each character is a compelling figure and I found myself quietly rereading passages to experience their meaning to a greater extent.

"When the quartet's paths finally cross in an unforgettable climax,
each discovers if they will find what they are looking for."
(Publisher's Note)

4.5 and highly recommended

Lorraine D. (Lacey, WA)

I lost a lot of sleep due to this book and loved every minute of it. I read at night and my reading sessions were up to 2 a.m. I couldn't put the book down.

The Paris Hours is not only captivating, it is so beautifully written. Vivid and visual depiction of various scenarios, be they tender or rough, are presented in a wonderful flow of poetic prose, painting a distinct image for the reader.

Some novels that introduce characters in separate chapters drag on in length before you become acquainted or engrossed with any of them. These characters are introduced independently, in short chapters, but by the end of each one of those chapters, from the very first introduction on , you are totally engrossed. It was like that with every chapter, from the novel's beginning to end.

Alex George weaves through each character's separate, distinct story with a capacity to capture their emotions, fears, motivations, and history in such a precise way, with minimal words, that is hard to define. Each character's situation and story are totally different from the others. Then, through creative mastery, the last chapters bring together the full picture – with a mind-boggling conclusion.

The Paris Hours touches on the beauty and mystery of the city, the implications and impact of war, the power of love, determination, and the struggle for survival in challenging circumstances.

I've already discussed this book with my book club members; they are waiting for its release. It will definitely be on the next reading list.

Debra S. (Thurmont, MD)

A Delight
The Paris Hours is a delightful book. I very quickly found myself caring about each character and wanting to keep reading, and did. This glimpse into life in Paris between the wars is full of art and color with places that are beautifully described by Alex George. I don't usually like historical fiction - this book may have changed my mind.

Judith S. (Binghamton, NY)

Best of the Year
Oh my! This man Alex George is an extraordinarily talented writer. His style is reminiscent of Amor Towles who wrote "A Gentleman in Moscow". A tip: have a dictionary handy to further enjoy the stories of these terrific characters and enhance your lovely read. I will definitely read his other novels. The Skylark Bookshop will be a destination if we are ever in Misssouri. Many thanks to Davina of BookBrowse for choosing this novel.

...16 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Alex George Author Biography

Alex George is a writer and a lawyer. He was born in London, England, but presently lives in the American Midwest.

Alex was named as one of Britain's top ten "thirtysomething" novelists by the Times of London, and was also named as the Independent on Sunday's "face to watch" for fiction in its Fresh Talent feature.

Alex read law at Oxford University and worked for eight years as a corporate lawyer in London and Paris. He moved to the United States in 2003, and re-qualified as a US attorney.

Alex has four children. His hobbies include listening to obscure jazz albums, playing his saxophone, and cooking (and eating) complicated meals. He has lived in the Midwest of the United States for the last sixteen years. He is the founder and director of the Unbound Book Festival, and is the...

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