Title: The Paris Hours
Author: Alex George
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
One day in the City of Light. One night in search of lost time.
Paris between the wars teems with artists, writers, and musicians, a glittering crucible of genius. But amidst the dazzling creativity of the city’s most famous citizens, four regular people are each searching for something they’ve lost.
Camille was the maid of Marcel Proust, and she has a secret: when she was asked to burn her employer’s notebooks, she saved one for herself. Now she is desperate to find it before her betrayal is revealed. Souren, an Armenian refugee, performs puppet shows for children that are nothing like the fairy tales they expect. Lovesick artist Guillaume is down on his luck and running from a debt he cannot repay—but when Gertrude Stein walks into his studio, he wonders if this is the day everything could change. And Jean-Paul is a journalist who tells other people’s stories, because his own is too painful to tell. When the quartet’s paths finally cross in an unforgettable climax, each discovers if they will find what they are looking for.
Told over the course of a single day in 1927, The Paris Hours takes four ordinary people whose stories, told together, are as extraordinary as the glorious city they inhabit.
This was…slower than I would have liked. It had a dreamy, floaty feel to it for me, and I just couldn’t make myself care about the characters. To be fair, I’m not generally a big fan of literary fiction, so that was probably the main problem.
Excellent writing and the setting was so vivid, as were some of the secondary characters (Proust), but in the end, this just wasn’t a good fit for me.
Alex George was born in England but now lives in America. The Paris Hours is his newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review.)