The Paris Hours: A Novel (Hardcover)
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“Like All the Light We Cannot See, The Paris Hours explores the brutality of war and its lingering effects with cinematic intensity. The ending will leave you breathless.” —Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train and A Piece of the World
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.
About the Author
A native of England, Alex George read law at Oxford University and worked for eight years as a corporate lawyer in London and Paris. He has lived in the Midwest of the United States for the last sixteen years. He is the founder and director of the Unbound Book Festival, and is the owner of Skylark Bookshop, an independent bookstore in downtown Columbia, Missouri.
Alex is the author of The Paris Hours, A Good American, and Setting Free the Kites.
Praise for The Paris Hours
“George masterfully concocts a story of people seeking solace, redemption, and answers to the questions that plague them. Like All the Light We Cannot See, The Paris Hours explores the brutality of war and its lingering effects with cinematic intensity. The ending will leave you breathless.”
—Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train and A Piece of the World
“A feast of the human soul. In this stunning novel, George goes behind the glitter of Paris in 1927 and takes you to the rooftops, the skinny alleyways, the flower-strewn parks, and darkened bar rooms to mine the wisdom of humanity. Beautifully rendered; gorgeously told.”
—Jessica Keener, author of Strangers In Budapest
“The kind of novel I always dream about finding: a completely engrossing story that had me canceling plans. I read The Paris Hours without pausing, desperate to see if these marvelous characters could escape the ache of their past. And I gasped when I got to the end.”
—Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club and Books for Living
“Although Josephine Baker, Marcel Proust, Ernest Hemingway, and Gertrude Stein drift along the edges of this exquisitely written, lovely jewel of a book, the characters who win our true affection are those created with appealing sympathy by George.”
—George Hodgman, author of Bettyville
“George writes movingly of human connection, lost and found. His vivid portrayal of lives intersecting in early 20th century Paris will delight you with its lyricism and touch you with its humanity. The main protagonists are so beautifully drawn they will haunt you long after you reach the end.”
—Melanie Benjamin, author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and Mistress of the Ritz
“A thrilling, irresistible marvel. In lyrical prose, George weaves together memory, loss, and yearning, portraying his characters with such vivid immediacy that I could imagine myself walking beside them along the winding streets of Paris, sharing their stories. Riveting, heartbreaking, and compassionate.”
—Lauren Belfer, author of City of Light and And After the Fire
“A journey of memory, The Paris Hours is a sensory feast that had me gobbling pages and dreaming myself into the heyday of Paris prestige. You know a novel is great when you finish reading and wish the fiction could be true history.”
—Sarah McCoy, author of Marilla of Green Gables
“The Paris Hours is a kaleidoscope of a novel: intricately constructed, glittering with color and history, playful, poignant, and a joy to hold in your hands. I was transported, seduced, and ultimately moved by spending this day with George’s rich and big-hearted imagination.”
—Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men
“The Paris Hours weaves together the moving tales of four disparate lives in an ending so stunning I was compelled to return to the beginning and read it again. Kudos, Alex George!”
—Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank
“The Paris Hours explores, in the course of a single day, the loves, sorrows, and secrets of four ordinary people whose lives touch lightly on the more famous of 1920s Paris: Ernest Hemingway, Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein, and Josephine Baker. This extraordinarily wise and moving novel is one of the loveliest looks at the world’s most charming city, and at humanity, that I have read. I hated for it to end.”
—Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Last Train to London