Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs

Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs

Enchanting memoir of a struggling writer living and working in the eccentric Parisian bookshop, ‘Shakespeare and Company’
‘Completely riveting …a vivid picture of modern Paris’ OBSERVER

‘Shakespeare and Company’ in Paris is one of the world’s most famous bookshops. The original store opened in 1921 and became known as the haunt of literary greats, such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Bernard Shaw, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein and James Joyce.

Sadly the shop was forced to close in 1941, but that was not the end of ‘Shakespeare and Company’… In 1951 another bookshop, with a similar free-thinking ethos, opened on the Left Bank. Called ‘Le Mistral’, it had beds for those of a literary mindset who found themselves down on their luck and, in 1964, it resurrected the name ‘Shakespeare and Company’ and became the principal meeting place for Beatnik poets, such as Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, through to Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell.

Today the tradition continues and writers still find their way to this bizarre establishment, one of them being Jeremy Mercer. With no friends, no job, no money and no prospects, the thrill of escape from his life in Canada soon palls but, by chance, he happens upon the fairytale world of ‘Shakespeare and Co’ and is taken in.
What follows is his tale of his time there, the curious people who came and went, the realities of being down and out in the ‘city of light’ and, in particular, his relationship with the beguiling octogenarian owner, George.
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Genre: Biography & True Stories / Biography: General

On Sale: 26th December 2019

Price: £8.99

ISBN-13: 9781474616041

Reviews

In this entertaining memoir, he recounts the circumstances that led him there, his subsequent experiences and, most interestingly, the shop's illustrious past ... As well as the tourists and thieves, there are those who stay at the shop, and Mercer portrays them well
LITERARY REVIEW
Completely riveting... [a] vivid picture of modern Paris, a city of tourism and immigration with a very hard edge to it. Mercer is particularly good on his fellow lodgers above the shop... Watching them interact is like viewing a thinking person's BIG BROTHER
OBSERVER
A pleasingly light and bookishly seductive account of life on the Rive Gauche
TIME OUT
An affectionate, revealing slice of life at the most singular, eccentric and magical of bookshops
Michael Palin
Like the shop itself, BOOKS, BAGUETTES AND BEDBUGS - sincere, unadorned and journalistic - preserves the optimism of youthful ideals and perpetuates the sweet dream that any man can create - in words, if not in reality - a better world
SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
There are enough shocks and secrets to make this account that unusual thing - the story of a bookshop that's a real page-turner - a small classic of literary life
SUNDAY TIMES
Mercer is a superb writer who has produced one of the most stylishly satisfying reads in years, surely deserving of a major literary prize
CANADA POST
This is a book, and a writer, with heart
HERALD
With such stories to relate, the book cannot help but be charming
GUARDIAN
The portrait of Paris's most famous bookstore ... readings on the banks of the Seine, idealistic banter and impulsive philanthropic gestures - is alluring
THE TIMES
This memoir ably captures a romanticised version of the bum's life ... but the real star is the eccentric and charming bookstore proprietor
NEW YORKER
This touching book suggests that his time at Shakespeare and Company was well spent
NEW STATESMAN
He entertainingly tell the story of his time there and the weird and wonderful people he meets
CITY LIFE
An extraordinary memoir... Recommended.
HAM & HIGH (1/9/06)
An extraordinary memoir... Recommended
HAM AND HIGH
Completely riveting... [a] vivid picture of modern Paris, a city of tourism and immigration with a very hard edge to it. Mercer is particularly good on his fellow lodgers above the shop... Watching them interact is like viewing a thinking person's BIG BROTHER
OBSERVER (20/8/06)