• The Paris Bookseller

  • By: Kerri Maher
  • Narrated by: Lauryn Allman
  • Length: 10 hrs and 37 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (91 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A BookBub Best Historical Fiction Book of 2022 ∙ A BookTrib Top Ten Historical Fiction Book of Spring ∙ A SheReads’ Best Literary Historical Fiction Coming in 2022 ∙ A Reader’s Digest’s Best Books for Women Written by Female Authors ∙ A PopSugar Much-Anticipated 2022 Novel

The dramatic story of how a humble bookseller fought against incredible odds to bring one of the most important books of the 20th century to the world in this new novel from the author of The Girl in White Gloves. 

When bookish young American Sylvia Beach opens Shakespeare and Company on a quiet street in Paris in 1919, she has no idea that she and her new bookstore will change the course of literature itself.

Shakespeare and Company is more than a bookstore and lending library: Many of the prominent writers of the Lost Generation, like Ernest Hemingway, consider it a second home. It's where some of the most important literary friendships of the twentieth century are forged—none more so than the one between Irish writer James Joyce and Sylvia herself. When Joyce's controversial novel Ulysses is banned, Beach takes a massive risk and publishes it under the auspices of Shakespeare and Company.

But the success and notoriety of publishing the most infamous and influential book of the century comes with steep costs. The future of her beloved store itself is threatened when Ulysses' success brings other publishers to woo Joyce away. Her most cherished relationships are put to the test as Paris is plunged deeper into the Depression and many expatriate friends return to America. As she faces painful personal and financial crises, Sylvia—a woman who has made it her mission to honor the life-changing impact of books—must decide what Shakespeare and Company truly means to her.

©2022 Kerri Maher (P)2022 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“A beautiful ode to Sylvia Beach, the renowned Shakespeare and Company owner, a real-life heroine who has left her mark on us all.”—Marie Benedict, New York Times bestselling coauthor of The Personal Librarian

“Maher vividly reimagines the indomitable Beach, who struggled for years to get Ulysses published.... In one poignant scene, Maher has Beach declaring: ‘Censorship is not commensurate with democracy. Or art,’ a comment that still rings true.”—The Washington Post 

“Wholly immersive, a literary romp through Left Bank Paris…an enchanting glimpse of the storied lost generation through a female gaze.”—Toronto Star 

What listeners say about The Paris Bookseller

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A Triumph

Sylvia Beach is a household name we should all know, and Maher’s book, as well as this excellent audio, triumphantly tells her story. For lovers of books, writing, writers, Paris, and the 1920 scene—or even those who want to know more about it. The author does a fantastic job of making this incredibly relatable to our day, while being uplifting. I’m blown away by this offering.

2 people found this helpful

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The Paris Bookseller

I listened to this novel with the eagerness of a child. I loved the characters. The way women were able to have shops in their names. I appreciate your time dedicated to the realism of names and places. Thank you for this novel.

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a little much on the intimate details

As a librarian it's no surprise that I love to read anything about books and I couldn't wait to get started with this one. It was obvious how much research was done for this historical fiction novel and I often felt immersed in the period and the struggles of the time.

The personal relationship between Sylvia and Adrianne was pertinent to the story. However, I think the description of their sexual encounters was not. Did we really need a description of Adrianne spreading pudding on Sylvia's body? or that they both enjoyed having their nipples touched?This was obviously one of the fictional parts since I don't think anyone had security cameras back then. For decades these heroic women had a strong, loving and supportive bond that could be recognized by everyone around them. I believe these imagined scenes painted both women in negative ways. Early in the story, Sylvia was told to consider that Adrianne was someone who would not be easily satisfied. And almost every time Adrianne would try to discuss something Sylvia didn't want to respond to or disagreed with, she would make sexual overtures that felt more like avoidance techniques. I just think this storyline did a disservice to both women.

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I can’l barely stand the narration.

I have been so looking forward to hearing this book. I waited till after midnight for it. But... the narrators voice is so big and heavy and thick when she speaks French. I almost cringe. It’s not pretty or pleasant at all. So I’m Listening in short bits of time. I’m hoping she mellows out or maybe I’ll get used to it.

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Highly enjoyed and also slightly annoyed by

This was generally a superb performance of Ms. Maher's book by Ms Allman. With the exception that she mispronounces Ulysses throughout the book and also gives hard g sound to a few words that use the soft g sound. Made me wonder if I've been mispronouncing Ulysses all these years, but I could find no evidence that Ulysses, as Joyce wrote it, should emphasize the first syllable, as Ms. Allman did. Minor issue, great performance and wonderful book.

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Didn’t care for the narrator

I could not get into the story because of how the narrator read the story.

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Highly interesting . A great read/listen.

My first audible book and loved it. Great way to "read". Love stories about Paris.