What readers think of The Paris Hours, plus links to write your own review.

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The Paris Hours

A Novel

by Alex George

The Paris Hours by Alex George X
The Paris Hours by Alex George
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2020, 272 pages
    May 4, 2021, 272 pages


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Sharon P. (San Diego, CA)

Outstanding narrative woven throughout
The Paris Hours is a wonderful book. Beautifully written, full of vivid detail and likable—albeit lost and sad—characters. The themes of lose and coincidence are threaded through the four main characters. I loved how historical figures, such as Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and especially,Josephine Baker, were bit players throughout the book, but important to give a sense of extraordinary to the four characters unordinary lives. I was especially satisfied that all four main characters stories did not wrap up in a fancy little happy bow at the end of the book. Their pain and lose felt more real that way; not something that the days end can magically solve and soothe. I highly recommend this book.
Linda S. (Milford, CT)

The Paris Hours
Come with me on a journey back in time to a day in 1927 Paris. This historical fiction is unique in that The Paris Hours by Alex George, takes place over 24 hours. Four somewhat ordinary people are all looking for something.

Souren Balakian, a tailor and puppeteer, is a transplant from Armenia. His younger brother was killed during the war there and Souren cannot get him out of his thoughts. Guillaume Blanc, a penniless and somewhat talented painter, is looking to escape ruthless moneylenders. He cannot repay them as he hasn't sold any paintings. Jean-Paul Maillard is a journalist, obsessed with the U.S. as were many people of the time. He was haunted by the same soulful music that his neighbor downstairs, Maurice Ravel, played every day on his piano. Camille Clermont is a married woman with a daughter, Marie. She becomes the housekeeper for Marcel Proust and grows very fond of him over the years.

Several other famous people make appearances throughout the story. Josephine Baker, Sidney Bechet, Sylvia Beach, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.

I liked the author's style of writing. Each chapter is about one of the characters. He does give you a good history of who the character is and how they arrived at their particular situations. The end ties it up quite nicely. This was a very enjoyable book and I would recommend it for book groups.
Laura C. (Woodworth, LA)

An exceptional read
Unfathomable loss, regret, remorse and longing have left indelible marks on Camille, Jean-Paul, Guillaume and Souren but in 1927 Paris, they strive ceaselessly to find what eludes them and will seemingly make them whole. Cameos by Ernest Hemingway, Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein and other luminaries of postwar Paris add authenticity to the story and time. In the masterfully conceived penultimate and longest chapter, the paths of the four main characters come crashing together in shocking fashion, so shocking and unexpected that I reread the chapter. The Paris Hours is a gripping tale of four immensely sympathetic characters and their harrowing stories that I won't soon forget. I don't reread fiction but I may well reread this. I highly recommend this book and I also think it would make an excellent book club selection.
Barbara H. (Thomasville, GA)

Fate or coincidence....
It is amazing how intricately woven many lives are - sometimes revealed and many more times sadly, never discovered. This is such a beautiful story of lives lost, lives found.....loves woven together by fate - or was it coincidence? Their stories of their losses, their pain, their joys - all that got them to this one day in time in which the story takes place is a beautifully woven together book of the four lives of the four central characters of this novel. This is such a sorrowfully moving story.
Ann B. (Bethlehem, PA)

After receiving The Paris Hours this week, I began eagerly reading this highly endorsed book. The consistent arrangement of the chapters in repeated quartets was genius, a foreshadowing of how the characters' lives are woven together like a beautiful hair braid. I read with anticipation, but also apprehension, unable to put the book down. The writing is simply stunning, and I found myself rereading paragraphs, a marvel of style and description. Souren, Guillaume, Jean-Paul, and Camille reveal their hopes and dreams, but also their past secrets, which create the fabric of their lives. As the story draws ever carefully to a breathtaking conclusion, I am still contemplating the possibilities long after the cover has closed.
Robert Murray

Fun Historical Fiction
I've always been a sucker for historical fiction, and I love Paris, so I was certain that I'd enjoy the stories of the four protagonists. However, I was surprised with what didn't please my palate: the celebrities who moved in and out of the novel throughout. It seemed a bit too contrived. The Paris Hours is beautifully written, and the ending was terrific and open-ended, but I think this novel would have been as good without Josephine Baker, Ernest Hemingway, and the lot.

Paris streets
I liked this book as it felt familiar; having been to Paris a couple of times walking the cobbled streets with shops brings back warm feelings.
Julie Z.

The Paris Hours
Day 10 of Coronavirus quarantine, and The Paris Hours was just what I needed. Paris in the twenties comes alive with fictionalized and true to life characters interwoven with individual plots that come together in the end. I most enjoyed the sections with Proust and his maid. Although I felt some of the stories seemed a bit too "convenient" to be plausible, I was wrapped up in the story, and practically read the book in one sitting. It will take you away and set you in Paris!

Beyond the Book:
  Gertrude Stein (1874-1946)

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