The Paris Hours

Flatiron: Macmillan. May 2020. 272p. ISBN 9781250307187. $26.99. F
George’s third novel (after Setting Free the Kites) is set in 1927 Paris, the heyday of Gertrude Stein, Marcel Proust, and Maurice Ravel. These real historical figures mingle with fictional characters to convey Paris during those years of artistic fruition. The everyday characters include Armenian refugee and puppeteer Souren, whose shows have a dark undertone that has special meaning only to him. Artist Guillaume must repay the money he owes to a loan shark before he is killed. Journalist Jean-Paul dreams of moving to America, and interviews various American expats, such as Josephine Baker, to satisfy his soul. There is also the tale of Marcel Proust’s maid, a country girl named Camille who ends up being Proust’s confidante. An artist, a writer, a puppeteer, and an author’s intimate—the stories of these characters move back and forth in a beautiful dance. And how they come together in the final movement is très belle!
VERDICT George has captured the ethos of 1920s Paris with a feel similar to Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. This title is not to be missed.
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