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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Arden A. (Longboat Key, FL)

An intriguing 24 hours in Paris, 1927
I tend to read more than one book at a time, hence I found it difficult to follow the stories, because each chapter was a different character and I had to go back to re-familiarize myself. That being said, I thought it was a really good book. I enjoyed the way four ordinary people had such different stories and how they eventually came together in a climax at the end of the 24 hours. They were all tragic figures in their own way, but I guess that is a sign of the times they lived in. And I also like the way real life characters were woven into the plot: Ernest Hemingway, Josephine Baker, Marcel Proust. I spent some time on Wikipedia reconnecting to these historical figures. It is a well-crafted and well-written book.
Lin Z

I wish I knew Paris!
I loved this story! I gave it 4 stars because the French names, locations, and words were a bit confusing to me and I had to look some of them up on a translation app! Maybe a street map included would have helped since the streets were often named and seemed important. At first I confused the characters of the journalist and the painter. That being said, I would highly recommend this novel! The author, Alex George, writes beautiful prose. I was intrigued how these 4 people would be connected and felt their secrets were tragic and worthy of discovery, which made me persist in reading. These people were all traumatized by the war and I couldn't predict how the story would end. Adding famous people and places gave the story an authentic feel. I would like my book club to read it.
Susan G. (Philadelphia, PA)

The Paris Hours Review - S. Gabriel
Overall, I enjoyed the book very much. The setting was wartime Paris, which provided a rich setting to develop deep and multidimensional characters, which the author did superbly. I liked all of them and found it easy to engage with them emotionally. The author's language was spirited and eloquent; '..but those dazzling syncopations do not last forever'; 'The wallpaper is staging a slow escape from the walls.'; 'optimism on such a cosmic scale was an art.' Through the despair, devastating losses and suffering of the characters, the author showed how the enduring power of hope can soothe the human spirit, even if resolution doesn't ever come. The use of real, contemporary figures such as Hemingway, Proust, and Stein, was brilliant.
What held me back from rating this book a '5 - very good' was the fact that none of the characters ever achieved complete emotional healing or reconciliation. I was left feeling sad and somewhat 'flat' at the end, because I wanted each of them to get what they were searching for. Personally, I like it when stories end on a positive note, even if real life doesn't always work out that way. I would highly recommend this book to readers who like a gripping, emotional story with deep characters who show the best and worst of human kind.
Power Reviewer
Beverly D

if you love Paris...
If you enjoyed the movie Midnight In Paris, you will love The Paris Hours. Early 20th century Paris, inhabited by Proust, Stein, Hemingway, Baker et al is viewed through the lens of four ordinary Parisians whose lives will intersect at the end of these 24 hours. Love, loss, memories of war and its impact on these lives is beautifully told as the author weaves current happenings with painful memories . Paris really comes alive as a character in its own right.
Pat B. (Saddlebrooke, MO)

Paris streets
This book was four short stories woven together making a completed book. I love the Hemingway connection. The burnt brother was horrible to read. war can be so awful. Loved Josephine Baker and her performance. thought author wrote about the common streets of Paris.
Mark Stine

The Paris Hours
I was privileged to receive an advanced copy for review. It is exquisitely written. The author has woven the likes of Hemingway, Proust and Josephine Baker into the sad lives of four ordinary people, whose misfortunes culminate in a tragic confluence of events. It is written so visually, I can't wait for the movie!
Reid B. (Seattle, WA)

A love letter to Paris and the magic of hope
Paris Hours is an elegiac meditation on a particular place and time, Paris in the years between the wars, when American expatriate authors and musicians roamed the streets and brilliant French composers noodled about in small apartments, playing melodies that would soon become world-famous.

But one of the many charms of Paris Hours is that Hemingway, Josephine Baker, Maurice Ravel, and (in flashback) Marcel Proust do not dominate it but, rather, serve as foils for the tales of more ordinary people like you and me, leading ordinary lives, just trying to get by with our perfectly ordinary load of pain, joy, and sorrow.

The plot of the novel consists of four narrative strands, interweaving but, until the climactic scene, rarely intersecting. All four protagonists have been wounded, in vastly different ways, by the war, and struggle to make sense of their lives in that context. But struggle and pain are only the underlying themes and not the melody of this composition, Rather, it is love, courage, and kindness that prevail, with undertones of loneliness and regret. These are very human lives, lived with as much hope as they can muster.

It is tricky, of course, to write about Paris without falling into cliche or a certain amount of braggadocio about how familiar one is with its topography. While George neatly evades the former, in the early going he seems about to fall into the trap of the latter. That he never quite does is a tribute to his care and craft. But he does come perilously close to that precipice. Still, this is a quibble when considering a novel as accomplished and heartfelt as this one.

A bit of a warning: the four stories can be difficult to track in the beginning, and you may find yourself flipping back and forth quite a bit in order to follow them. But they soon become very distinct, and in any case the small amount of effort involved pays great dividends. Paris Hours is a beautiful book, filled with lives well-lived, sorrows carried nobly, and so much love--love for a place, a time, and the people who lived them.

4 Characters - 1 Day
This book is billed as taking place in one day. While it does build up to an event on a specific day, half of the book is flashbacks getting us to the day. There are a lot of characters and jumping around and French names, making it hard to keep track. I think the 4 characters are: Painter, Puppet Master, Writer, Mother.

Beyond the Book:
  Gertrude Stein (1874-1946)

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