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Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.

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Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co. Cover

ISBN13: 9780312347390
ISBN10: 0312347391
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Some bookstores are filled with stories both inside and outside the bindings. These are places of sanctuary, even redemption---and Jeremy Mercer has found both amid the stacks of Shakespeare & Co."

---Paul Collins, author of Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books

In a small square on the left bank of the Seine, the door to a green-fronted bookshop beckoned. . . .

With gangsters on his tail and his meager savings in hand, crime reporter Jeremy Mercer fled Canada in 1999 and ended up in Paris. Broke and almost homeless, he found himself invited to a tea party amongst the riffraff of the timeless Left Bank fantasy known as Shakespeare & Co. In its present incarnation, Shakespeare & Co. has become a destination for writers and readers the world over, trying to reclaim the lost world of literary Paris in the 1920s. Having been inspired by Sylvia Beach's original store, the present owner, George Whitman, invites writers who are down and out in Paris to live and dream amid the bookshelves in return for work. Jeremy Mercer tumbled into this literary rabbit hole and found a life of camaraderie with the other eccentric residents, and became, for a time, George Whitman's confidante and right-hand man.

Time Was Soft There is one of the great stories of bohemian Paris and recalls the work of many writers who were bewitched by the City of Light in their youth. Jeremy's comrades include Simon, the eccentric British poet who refuses to give up his bed in the antiquarian book room, beautiful blonde Pia, who contributes the elegant spirit of Parisian couture to the store, the handsome American Kurt, who flirts with beautiful women looking for copies of Tropic of Cancer, and George himself, the man who holds the key to it all. As Time Was Soft There winds in and around the streets of Paris, the staff fall in and out of love, straighten bookshelves, host tea parties, drink in the more down-at-the-heels cafés, sell a few books, and help George find a way to keep his endangered bookstore open. Spend a few days with Jeremy Mercer at 37 Rue de la Bucherie, and discover the bohemian world of Paris that still bustles in the shadow of Notre Dame.

"Jeremy Mercer has captured Shakespeare & Co. and its complicated owner, George Whitman, with remarkable insight. Time Was Soft There is a charming memoir about living in Whitman's Shakespeare & Co. and the strange, broken, lost, and occasionally talented, eccentrics and residents of this Tumblewood Hotel."

---Noel Riley Fitch, author of Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties & Thirties

"There does seem to be something about the odd ducks that work at bookstores. Jeremy Mercer has captured the story of a wonderful, unique store that could only be born out of a love for books and the written word."

--- Liz Schlegel, the Book Revue bookshop, Huntington, New York

Review:

"Mercer explains his memoir's title this way: 'Hard time goes slowly and painfully and leaves a man bitter.... Time at Shakespeare and Company was as soft as anything I'd ever felt.' His graceful narrative follows struggling writers as they live on potato soup and dreams at Paris's famous expatriate bookshop. Mercer, a former Ottowa Citizen crime reporter, finds himself at Shakespeare one gloomy Parisian day in 1999, in his late 20s, with not much money and no plans for the future, trying to evade some angry newspaper sources back home. With little fanfare, he is taken into the store by its owner, George Whitman, a kindly yet scatterbrained man, who explains, 'I run a socialist utopia that masquerades as a bookstore.' Mercer begins working as an eager unpaid employee, running errands, acting as a referee between the writers who hang out there and ringing up sales (it's no B&N superstore: when Mercer asks where the credit card machine is, he's told, 'Dude, Shakespeare and Company doesn't even have a telephone. Of course we don't take credit cards'). Mercer portrays the assorted characters and their adventures with an eye for detail and a wry sense of humor. Francophile book lovers will enjoy his finely crafted memoir. Agent, Kristin Lindstrom." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Book News Annotation:

Mercer's account of his life in this sanctuary for impecunious writers and readers in Paris includes the stories of those who, like him, worked there more or less to save their souls for the moment. He draws readers into this subculture within a subculture, describing the inspired and eccentric owner, the heady mix of patrons and clerks, and the ways time passes strangely in a haven for words and the wounded.
Annotation 2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Book News Annotation:

Mercer's account of his life in this sanctuary for impecunious writers and readers in Paris includes the stories of those who, like him, worked there more or less to save their souls for the moment. He draws readers into this subculture within a subculture, describing the inspired and eccentric owner, the heady mix of patrons and clerks, and the ways time passes strangely in a haven for words and the wounded. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Wandering through Paris's Left Bank one day, poor and unemployed, Canadian reporter Jeremy Mercer ducked into a little bookstore called Shakespeare & Co. Mercer bought a book, and the staff invited him up for tea. Within weeks, he was living above the store, working for the proprietor, George Whitman, patron saint of the city's down-and-out writers, and immersing himself in the love affairs and low-down watering holes of the shop's makeshift staff. Time Was Soft There is the story of a journey down a literary rabbit hole in the shadow of Notre Dame, to a place where a hidden bohemia still thrives.

Synopsis:

In a leafy square on Paris's Left Bank, a young writer finds a home and an unlikely mentor among the shelves of a legendary bookshop.

About the Author

Jeremy Mercer was formerly a journalist for the Ottawa Citizen. He is the author of two crime books and founder of Kilometer Zero, a cult literary magazine currently being published out of Shakespeare & Co.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Triska, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by Triska)
A wonderful mix of both the romantic and realistic aspects of bohemian life in Paris. After reading this I would gladly sell my few belongings and opt for a life of novels, late-nights, tea parties, story-telling, and struggling to get by in the charming (and not-so-charming) city of lights.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780312347390
Subtitle:
Co.
Author:
Mercer, Jeremy
Publisher:
Picador
Subject:
Europe - France
Subject:
History
Subject:
Intellectual life
Subject:
Commerce
Subject:
Travelers
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
BIO026000
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20060919
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Related Subjects

Reference » Books on Books
Travel » Travel Writing » France
Travel » Travel Writing » General

Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co. Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$14.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages St. Martin's Press - English 9780312347390 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Mercer explains his memoir's title this way: 'Hard time goes slowly and painfully and leaves a man bitter.... Time at Shakespeare and Company was as soft as anything I'd ever felt.' His graceful narrative follows struggling writers as they live on potato soup and dreams at Paris's famous expatriate bookshop. Mercer, a former Ottowa Citizen crime reporter, finds himself at Shakespeare one gloomy Parisian day in 1999, in his late 20s, with not much money and no plans for the future, trying to evade some angry newspaper sources back home. With little fanfare, he is taken into the store by its owner, George Whitman, a kindly yet scatterbrained man, who explains, 'I run a socialist utopia that masquerades as a bookstore.' Mercer begins working as an eager unpaid employee, running errands, acting as a referee between the writers who hang out there and ringing up sales (it's no B&N superstore: when Mercer asks where the credit card machine is, he's told, 'Dude, Shakespeare and Company doesn't even have a telephone. Of course we don't take credit cards'). Mercer portrays the assorted characters and their adventures with an eye for detail and a wry sense of humor. Francophile book lovers will enjoy his finely crafted memoir. Agent, Kristin Lindstrom." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
Wandering through Paris's Left Bank one day, poor and unemployed, Canadian reporter Jeremy Mercer ducked into a little bookstore called Shakespeare & Co. Mercer bought a book, and the staff invited him up for tea. Within weeks, he was living above the store, working for the proprietor, George Whitman, patron saint of the city's down-and-out writers, and immersing himself in the love affairs and low-down watering holes of the shop's makeshift staff. Time Was Soft There is the story of a journey down a literary rabbit hole in the shadow of Notre Dame, to a place where a hidden bohemia still thrives.
"Synopsis" by , In a leafy square on Paris's Left Bank, a young writer finds a home and an unlikely mentor among the shelves of a legendary bookshop.
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