This is a very intense read about the owner of a special bookshop on a barge in Paris. ‘Perdu’, the name of the main character which means ‘Lost’ in French, sets out in his barge to travel down through France seeking to assuage his grief of 20 years since his lover died.
A slow read, the pace matches the journey. The descriptions of France and the countryside were lovely. The importance of food and what people ate is very French and there are even recipes included at the end of the book. Some of the ideas in the book were poignant and made you think.
Although the characters did not develop much, we liked the character of Max. Some parts of the book added little to the plot and could have benefitted from editing.
We liked the idea of the bookshop and the way in which the main character matches people to a book. The author has studied ‘bibliotherapy’, where specific books are matched to individuals’ emotions and state of mind. The list at the back of the book with suggested titles matching the therapy and including ‘side effects’ was of great interest, humour and stimulated discussion.
Recommendation: Not light bedtime reading or a quick read, but an intense book which makes you think about what we read and why.