Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Paris Bookseller

  ~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis:  THE PARIS BOOKSELLER opens in 1917, as World War I ends and Paris is alive as a thriving center for culture and modernity. With new ideas rapidly taking the post-war world by storm, Sylvia Beach moves to Paris and opens the doors to her new English-language bookshop with the help of fellow writer and bookseller Adrienne Monnier. What starts as a partnership and friendship with Adrienne soon blossoms into a romance, and the women work together to create a haven for English writers and readers.


Sylvia quickly falls in love with James Joyce’s prose, especially his unpublished manuscript, Ulysses. When the contentious novel is banned in the United States for its obscenity, Sylvia takes a massive financial and personal risk, deciding to publish it under the auspices of Shakespeare and Company. She quickly realizes that the success and notoriety of publishing the most influential book of the century comes with steep costs. While many patrons applaud her efforts, some believe she has marred the integrity of Shakespeare and Company as she remains staunchly loyal to Joyce. Even worse, the future of her beloved store is threatened and her most enduring friendships are put to the test when Ulysses success leads to Joyce being wooed by other publishers. Now on the cusp of World War II and facing financial ruin, Sylvia must decide how far she will go to keep Shakespeare and Company alive.


Maher not only captures the life of a brave and inspiring bookseller, but also transports readers to the electric cultural atmosphere of Paris in the early 20th century. Sylvia’s romantic relationship with Adrienne Monnier is exquisitely rendered and offers an insightful look into what it meant to be a lesbian in Paris in the early to mid-twentieth century. Maher’s descriptions of a society grappling with the effects of World War I while simultaneously entering an age of modernism will captivate readers, as will cameo appearances from much-beloved literary figures. 

Published just in time for the 100th anniversary of Joyce’s Ulysses, THE PARIS BOOKSELLER is a moving celebration of the enduring power of literature and art.

Kerri Maher is the author of The Girl in White GlovesThe Kennedy Debutante, and, under the name Kerri Majors, This is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and was a writing professor for many years. She now writes full-time and lives with her daughter and dog in a leafy suburb west of Boston, Massachusetts. Learn more online at kerrimaher.com.

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