Notes from a Reading Journal: “The Paris Hours,” by Alex George.

Notes from a Reading Journal: This was my BOTM April selection. This is a novel of four characters in 1927 Paris. Nostalgic creatives who show up: Marcel Proust, Josephine Baker, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and Guillaume (the Painter). The most compelling story line for me was that of Marcel Proust and Camille. The character of Camille was inspired by Proust’s real maid, Celeste Albaret, who was directed to (and allegedly did) burn all of his notebooks. Except… what if she didn’t? This is the story line of Marcel and Camille. I loved it.

What I needed most right now was to step into another place and travel using my mind. I needed an escape. What more appealing and picturesque place than The City of Light in 1927? Let me pretend for a moment that I am drinking cafe au lait in the Latin Quarter and indulging in story. Just let me dream. They haven’t taken that away from us yet. Story.

Collected quotes:

“You and I will never get too comfortable here, my friend. We’ll always be from somewhere else, won’t we?” P. 65 “

She knew the fragility of happiness, and for this reason he trusted her.” P. 80

“She breathes in the comforting smell of old books, and wonders how many lifetimes of stories are held here.” P. 83

“Worse still, he was yet to taste a single bite of cheese. But he could not turn back now.” P 88

“I see still waters running deep within you.” P. 133

“He likes to walk through the Latin Quarter. It is the oldest part of the city, a labryinth that meanders and intersects with itself without apparent design or purpose. The pace of life feels a little slower here. People linger a little longer at cafe tables as they watch the rest of the world amble by. One more sip of coffee, one more story in the newspaper. Generations of stories inhabit every brick in every wall. He can almost see the ghosts.” P. 145

“This is what war does, mon ami. The whole world is holding its breath, waiting for life to begin again.” P. 181

I hold my breath.