cover image The Paris Bookseller

The Paris Bookseller

Kerri Maher. Berkley, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-10218-3

Maher (The Girl in White Gloves) offers an alluring look at the history of Paris’s Shakespeare and Company bookstore. American writer Sylvia Beach is living in Paris in 1917 when she becomes enamored with bookseller Adrienne Monnier. Sylvia’s passion for books outweighs her passion for writing, and with money provided by her mother, she opens her own shop. As Adrienne and Sylvia embark on a romance, they become immersed in the literary world of Paris, spending time with Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and Gertrude Stein. After Joyce’s novel Ulysses is banned in the U.S., Sylvia takes on the task of publishing it. The printing costs strain her finances, and Joyce keeps revising the work, but as the tide turns a decade later, it proves a sound investment. Maher’s portrayal of Sylvia ably capitalizes on the historical figure’s singular life, highlighting how the bookseller and publisher embraced the progressive literature of the time and established a loving partnership with Adrienne that would not have been accepted in the U.S. This succeeds at carrying the flame for the lost generation. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (Jan.)