MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Summary and book 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
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Published:
    May 5, 2020, 272 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

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.

1
Stitches

THE ARMENIAN WORKS BY the light of a single candle. His tools lie in front of him on the table: a spool of cotton, a square of fabric, haberdasher's scissors, a needle.

The flame flickers, and shadows leap across the walls of the tiny room, dancing ghosts. Souren Balakian folds the fabric in half, checks that the edges align exactly, and then he picks up the scissors. He feels the resistance beneath his fingers as the steel blades bite into the material. He always enjoys this momentary show of defiance before he gives the gentlest of squeezes, and the scissors cut through the doubled-up fabric. He eases the blades along familiar contours, working by eye alone. He has done this so many times, on so many nights, there is no need to measure a thing. Torso, arms, neckline—this last cut wide, to accommodate the outsized head.

When he has finished, there are two identical shapes on the table in front of him. He sweeps the unused scraps of cloth onto the floor, and picks up the...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Welcome to the Reading Group Guide for The Paris Hours. Please note: In order to provide reading groups with the most informed and thought-provoking questions possible, it is necessary to reveal important aspects of the plot of this novel—as well as the ending. If you have not finished reading The Paris Hours, we respectfully suggest that you may want to wait before reviewing this guide.

  1. Of the four interwoven storylines that comprise the novel—Souren's, Guillaume's, JeanPaul's, and Camille's—did you have a favorite? If so, why?
  2. Discuss the epigraph: "For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn't any other tale to ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

Author Blurb Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train and A Piece of the World
"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.

Author Blurb Jessica Keener, author of Strangers In Budapest
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.

Author Blurb Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club and Books for Living
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.

Author Blurb George Hodgman, author of Bettyville
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.

Author Blurb Melanie Benjamin, author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and Mistress of the Ritz
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.

Author Blurb Lauren Belfer, author of City of Light and And After the Fire
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.

Author Blurb Sarah McCoy, author of Marilla of Green Gables
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.

Author Blurb Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men
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.

Author Blurb Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank
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!

Reader Reviews

Ohio Librarian

The Perfect Blend of Historical & Literary Fiction
Experience Paris in 1927, between WWI and WWII), through the lives of four dramatically different characters: an artist, a writer, a maid and a puppeteer. Enter into their hearts and souls as each of their stories unfold and their paths cross with ...   Read More

Alyson R. (Spokane, WA)

Vignettes of the human spirit - life, love, and loss
I really enjoyed the Paris Hours. The author did an exquisite job developing the individual narratives of the characters while also interweaving them together. I also liked that the celebrity guest spots of famous Parisians or wanna-be Parisians of ...   Read More

Marcia C. (Jeffersonville, PA)

Remembrance of Things Past--Part II
The Paris Hours is a beautifully written, soulful account of four Parisians, each coping with a very personal loss. The year is 1927. The entire book takes place over the span of a single day. As the stories unfold it becomes evident that even after ...   Read More

Lynne Z. (San Francisco, CA)

Life is full of surprises
Alex George has written a beautiful book that had me mesmerized from beginning to end. He masterfully wove the stories of his four main characters by slowly unfolding their memories and secrets with rotating chapters. The various connections between ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Alex George

If you liked The Paris Hours, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes

Books with similar themes


Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Saint X
    Saint X
    by Alexis Schaitkin
    In the opening pages of her debut novel, Alexis Schaitkin introduces the reader to an idyllic beach ...
  • Book Jacket: The Bear
    The Bear
    by Andrew Krivak
    The Bear feels like a novel I've been awaiting for years. I received the book and its message with ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Island of Sea Women
    by Lisa See
    Lisa See's latest novel, The Island of Sea Women, follows the lives of Mi-ja and Young-sook, two ...
  • Book Jacket: Race Against Time
    Race Against Time
    by Jerry Mitchell
    Jerry Mitchell spent nearly three decades trailing cold cases from the Civil Rights Movement. As a ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    I Want You to Know We're Still Here
    by Esther Safran Foer

    "A vivid testimony to the power of memory."
    - Kirkus (starred review)
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Miss Austen
    by Gill Hornby

    A witty, poignant novel about Cassandra Austen and her famous sister, Jane.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Henna Artist
by Alka Joshi

The Henna Artist opens a door into a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Mostly Dead Things

Mostly Dead Things
by Kristen Arnett

"Hilarious, deeply morbid, and full of heart."
- BuzzFeed

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

E, My D W

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.