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Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co. Paperback – September 19, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From The New Yorker
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Mercer ends up in Paris to finish a college language requirement. Then, just as he is running out of money, he spots the Shakespeare & Company bookshop during a downpour. He slips inside for a peek, and immediately finds friends, a home, a way of life that is seductive and artistic and romantic all at once.
The story does read like fiction from another era. Mercer's writing is so smooth and honest, and his story is incredible. He captures a very magical place in a magical city. Anyone who loves to get lost in bookstores will savor this book.
There is a fair amount of history in the story, which gives the book a spine. He explains the family background of the bookshop owner, his political leanings, his ties to the City Lights bookstore in San Francisco.
Mercer also does a wonderful job of showing the downside to such a romantic and crazy life choice. Giving up everything in order to live in a famous book store in a famous city sounds wonderful, but there are filthy toilets and hunger pangs and thieves and heartbreak, too.
This is an honest and well-written book about a fascinating subject. Time Was Soft There will surely catch the fancy of anyone who loves books and writers.
Shakespeare & Company was originally a bookstore owned by Sylvia Beach, running from 1919 to 1941, attracting such literary heavyweights like Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald. After being closed (with one rumor being that it was shut down when Ms Beach refused to sell the last copy of `Finnegan's Wake' to an occupying Nazi officer), a decade late George Whitman opened his own, similar bookstore in Paris under the name `Le Minstal'. It would eventually adopt the Shakespeare & Co. name, and would become renowned for its open door policy to visitors; its deep rooted communist ideals; its run-ins with the government; its cluttered yet enchanting makeup; and its undeniable charm and allure that has attracted so many thousands of visitors.
Into this world enters Jeremy Mercer, a Canadian crime-writer whose open honesty about his true character in the opening chapters immediately alienates the reader, who is likely to be somewhat put off by Mercer's admitted taste for the violence he witnesses whilst reporting.Read more ›
I just spent all evening reading Mercer's book and it was great. We only got that brienf glimpse of Shakespeare & Co but from what I could tell Mercer captured the mileu wonderfully, especially the amazing George Whitman. It's a cliche to talk about a global homogenizized culture. Shakespeare & Co really is part of the antidote, in all its messy glory, dirty dishes and all. And an amazing bookstore on top of that. So thanks to Jeremy for capturing all this.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really enjoyed reading this book. Congrats to Jeremy and other Tumbleweeds. Great read.Published 15 days ago by jwd410
A good story about a very interesting place, but not very well written.Published 1 month ago by Michael T. Sullivan
Bought book a while back. But in return from trip to Paris and of course to the bookstore I pulled it out and what a delightful extension of my visit. Read morePublished 1 month ago by PAB
Because it ended so abruptly.
Enjoyed this very much,the characters came alive,and the feeling of the store echoed in my mind.
SUCH A FUN BOOK, CAPTURING WHAT I EXPECTED. FROM THE BOOKSTORE THAT IS MY FAVORITE IN THE WHOLE WORLD. I have not lived there, except in dreams like this book provides. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Les Priest
This was a very enjoyable read. The author stumbles onto the Shakespeare and Company bookstore and ends up becoming a temporary resident. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Dagot
This is an enormously enjoyable memoir capturing a very eventful year or so in a young writer's life as he flees, penniless, to Paris from unpleasant circumstances in Canada. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Aanel Victoria