Likely Stories -- May 5, 2022 -- The Paris Bookseller, by Keri Maher
I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
Kerri Maher is the author of numerous works. She holds am MFA from Columbia University and was a writing professor for many years. She now lives with her daughter and dog in a leafy suburb west of Boston, Massachusetts. The Paris Bookseller is an excellent story.
To begin, “It was the way her mother sparkled with life, read books, and hosted professors, politicians, and actors, serving them rich, glistening dishes by candlelight at dinners where there was spirited debate about books and world events. Eleanor Beach told her three daughters—Cyprian, Sylvia, and Holly—that they were living in the most rare and wonderful of places, and it would change the course of their lives forever. // Nothing had compared” (4).
“No sooner had she begun to despair about her aimlessness than an idea began to take shape in Sylvia’s mind. // A bookshop of her own. // A place that would attract the same sorts of people that Adrienne’s did. But at a distance from this shop, she loved so much, from this woman she was beginning to love too much. New York was far enough away to protect her heart” (21).
Then, Sylvia had an inspiration. “What if, instead of a French shop in America, I open an American shop here in Paris? There seems to be a hunger here to read more works in the original language and no shop or library to supply then.’ Sylvia had woken that morning with this idea, like a lightning bolt thrown at her from the heavens, and then she’d spent the whole day working up the courage to share it with Adrienne. //
Now, over dinner of Adrienne’s miraculous roasted chicken and potatoes with rosemary, was the time. //. Adrienne blinked, then broke into a wide smile. ‘Oui! It is a perfect idea. And it would allow you to stay in Paris,’ she said excitedly. […] ‘this made Sylvia feel lighter, as if her sails had suddenly caught wind. ‘Paris feels like home,’ she said” (29).
On a short week in Paris, I spent several days at the “new” Shakespeare and Company. This was as close as I would ever get to this marvelous bookshop. I still hope to get one last visit sometime soon. Thanks to Kerri Maher for The Paris Bookseller. 5 Stars!
Likely Stories is a production of KWBU. I’m Jim McKeown. Join me again next time for Likely Stories, and happy reading!