Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Emperor of Paris by C S Richardson

She was a reader.
He had a library.

The Emperor of Paris by C S Richardson is a wonderfully lyrical, fairy-tale love story that takes place in World War 1 era Paris. Although the format is a little disorienting at first with sparse, dreamlike writing, the apparently different story-lines come closer and closer together building a surprising sense of suspense. The descriptions, too, are deliciously tantalizing, whether about French baking, Paris neighbourhoods, or rare books. Part Hemingway, part Murakami, it's a book that's hard to categorize but a lovely read nonetheless.

Octavio Notre-Dame comes from a long line of bakers. At the establishment known as the cake-slice, he produces baguettes and brioches with timeless perfection. But like generations of Notre-Dame men before him, Octavio has never mastered the art of reading. His only knowledge of the world beyond the bakery is born of his imagination. Just a few streets away, in the basement of the Louvre, Isabeau Normande restores great works of art to their original glory. Trying to forget her own disfigured beauty, she loses herself in the faces of others and the wonders she finds in books. The two might never have met, but for a curious chain of coincidences involving an impoverished painter, a lonely bookseller and a book of ancient tales lost and found . . . (back cover)


Heidi’sbooks said...

Wow. I haven't even seen this anywhere. It sounds intriguing. Thanks for the review. I'm going to look it up.

Buried In Print said...

I liked the bookselling scenes in this book as much as the bakery bits: your use of the word 'tantalizing' works well for both!

Trish said...

Heidi - yes give it a look, I think you'll enjoy it.

Buried in Print - the book selling scenes are lovely, aren't they? I liked them too.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Not sure this book would be for me, but I do like the cover.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

The themes of this book are themes I seek out. Thank you for sharing it.