“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.
Set in Paris over 24 hours in summer 1927, George's engrossing third novel (after Setting Free the Kites) interweaves the lives of four characters struggling with loss, loneliness, and secrets. A decade after Turkish forces drove Souren Balakian from his home in Anatolia, he attempts to exorcize terrifying memories through his puppet shows. Before fleeing Paris to avoid reprisal for unpaid debts, Guillaume Blanc decides to meet the daughter he believes was born from his tryst with a trapeze artist 10 years earlier. Camille Clermont has saved one of the notebooks her late employer, Marcel Proust, asked her to burn; when her husband sells it without her permission, she fears that a shameful secret she confided to Proust will become public. Journalist Jean-Paul Maillard interviews luminaries such as Josephine Baker, but his heart is in the unpublished book he wrote about his infant daughter, Elodie, who disappeared in 1918 amid the German shelling that killed his wife. By evoking fictional characters and historical figures with equal vividness and wisely using repeated motifs (a Ravel piece, a prostitute, a club, a painting), George unites his narratives in a surprising yet wholly convincing denouement. Elegant and evocative, this will have special appeal for lovers of Paris and fans of Paula McLain's The Paris Wife.