The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher - forthcoming January 2022
March 14, 1887 - Baltimore Maryland
1901 Family moves to Paris
1914 - starts Shakespeare and Company
July 1920 - Meets James Joyce
1922 - publishes Ulysses
I loved this marvelous book. Based on the Paris experiences of Slyvia Beach, founder of the very famous book store Shakespeare and Company it is a story of Slyvia’s love for Paris, for literature, for her book store, for Adrienne Monnier, owner of a French language book store and for helping the many expatriate writers in Paris.
Among writers we meet in Slyvia’s store, featuring books in English for sale or loan, were James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot. Joyce, as potrayed by Meher was an almost daily visitor to the shop. Joyce was a “challenging” genius. Beach tried to help him with his marriage and eye problems as he worked on Ulysses. Meher really brought Joyce to life for me. Sylvia worked very hard to get Ulysses published and fight American regulators who had declared it “obscene”. There is a lot of detail about court battles and clandestine distributions of the book. Slyvia helped Joyce financially in his hard times, paying for his eye treatments. We see his stormy relationship to Nora.
The Love story with Adrienne Monnier is very central to The book . The erotic scenes are very powerful. Same sex relationships were made legal during The French Revolution so things were more open there. Natalie Burney comes in for a mention which delighted me. Of course Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas are featured.
I learned a lot about The day to day operations of the
store, often an operational and financial Challenge.
There is a bibliography of works Maher suggests at the close.
I totally endorse this book. There is much more in it than I have mentioned.
There is bio data and information on The author on her website