Sunday, September 30

Book Review: The Emperor of Paris

Title: The Emperor of Paris

Author: C. S. Richardson

Pages: EBook 178

Summary: Like his father before him, Octavio runs the Notre-Dame bakery, and knows the secret recipe for the perfect Parisian baguette. But, also like his father, Octavio has never mastered the art of reading and his only knowledge of the world beyond the bakery door comes from his own imagination. Just a few streets away, Isabeau works out of sight in the basement of the Louvre, trying to forget her disfigured beauty by losing herself in the paintings she restores and the stories she reads. The two might never have met, but for a curious chain of coincidences involving a mysterious traveller, an impoverished painter, a jaded bookseller, and a book of fairytales, lost and found . . .

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I found this to be quite an enjoyable read. The book was short, as were the passages and chapters, yet the author has an incredible ability to build the feel and images of his setting and characters. The story itself was well done, slow moving at times, but it worked for the book.

There were some lovely, passages filled with imagery throughout the book. The author did a wonderful job at painting some very lovely, tragic and vivid images that come alive off the page. The author also did a fantastic job at creating the characters, both main and minor that built the book. Even the "gossips" had their own flair to them that helped create the feel, smells and images of Paris during the time period. I think these short, but descriptive passages was what made me enjoy the book so much, as they brought such beautiful imagery off of the pages.

One of the things I disliked the most about the book was, while the story of both the individual characters and how it connected was a great story, I found that it to a bit choppy. I felt like there were pieces missing that would help connect everything, or add something to an individual's story and background. While some of the passages were truly beautiful, the entire book I felt like something was missing, that something was being held back, just out of reach. But overall, I found it to be a great read.

Would I recommend it to read: I would recommend it. I enjoyed it more than his first novel. It is probably not a book for everyone. As it does read more like descriptive prose, or free style poetry. The narrative is very different than the average book, but it worth checking out.

What to read next: The other 2012 Giller Finalists, The End of the Alphabet

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge


  1. I read this one in two or three sittings, but I think the best way to read it would be in a single afternoon, with lots of rich bakery delights and drinks to warm your belly. It creates a lovely mood and spins a satisfying story. It's one that I can easily imagine buying as a gift, because there are so many beautiful aspects to it, but it's not amongst my personal favourites on the longlist.

    1. I read it in a sitting, and it was well worth it. Although I think it's also a book that you could read again, and have a completely different experience with it. I did have a warm drink when I read it, but no bakery delight. But I agree, it is the perfect book for that.