The Emperor of Paris Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Aug 14 2012
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“It is at once a painterly novel and a writerly one, the language delivered in the careful, enigmatic, deliberately restrained brush strokes of an impressionist, the whole image only gradually emerging into view as the sentences accrue. The spareness of Richardson’s approach has the opposite effect of what one might expect: his restraint with details lends weight and significance to every word, every image, and the novel shimmers with the heightened clarity of a dream. . . .
“It’s hard to rave noisily about such a quietly beautiful novel, but I will try. The Emperor of Paris is brilliant; it lingers; I will read it again, and again. (In fact, I will read every novel Richardson writes.) If you love finely crafted sentences and spare, elegant prose; if you love charming characters and a tender, affecting story; if you love books and Paris and boulangeries, you will love this novel.”
—The Globe and Mail
“It is much too early in the year to be picking the year’s best books but I will be shocked if I read 5 novels better than [The Emperor of Paris] in 2012. Well, I’d be delighted actually as that would mean I will have read at least 6 perfectly presented stories that make one think back, meditate, feel and enjoy in warmth and human sympathy.”
—Herald de Paris
“The Emperor of Paris is a metaphorical feast for the senses, each sentence offering up some little detail—a richly hued peacock feather, a dash of raspberry jam—to linger over and savour.”
—Winnipeg Free Press
“The Emperor of Paris is a rich and well-told story of the transcendent power of art; it would not be surprising if it were to gain even greater accolades than The End of the Alphabet.”
—Quill & Quire
“It is at once a painterly novel and a writerly one, the language delivered in the careful, enigmatic, deliberately restrained brush strokes of an impressionist, the whole image only gradually emerging into view as the sentences accrue. The spareness of Richardson’s approach has the opposite effect of what one might expect: his restraint with details lends weight and significance to every word, every image, and the novel shimmers with the heightened clarity of a dream. . . . the reader will be swept up, and will read with anxious, bated breath, yearning for that destined moment, that perfect singularity and culmination.”
—The Calgary Herald
About the Author
CS RICHARDSON's first novel, The End of the Alphabet, was an international bestseller published in thirteen countries and ten languages. Winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book (Canada & the Caribbean), it was named on four Best of the Year lists and was adapted for radio drama by BBC Radio 4. Richardson is also an accomplished and award-winning book designer. He lives and works in Toronto.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Emperor of Paris is the circuitous story of how Octavio Notre-Dame and Isabeau Normande come together and find love.
Despite their physical proximity, they are an unlikely couple who belie the grandiloquent title of the novel: he, a humble baker, she, working in the basement of the Louvre restoring art. Both play uncelebrated roles that nonetheless contribute to what is quintessentially Parisian: food and culture.
Richardson is an impeccable stylist, which makes this "period piece" all the more compelling. He has a good feel for the Paris of the early 20th century, and his love for the city shines through: both its high culture, and the everyday, grittier culture of the street. He has a great way of subtly communicating the unspoken social codes that to this day rule Paris more firmly than any mere government:
"The bakery's location in a building named for a pastry confection was an irony lost on no one. For centuries there had been an order to the world, a natural division of gastronomic labours. Bakers worked their dough, pastry men fussed with their marzipan. Each kept to his own, begrudging enough if he found himself walking past the other's shop. To feed your family, you were off to the boulangerie. Weakness for a macaron meant a trip to the patisserie and be quick about it. It was a sensible order: everyone knew to visit a fruit seller when looking for a squash was foolishness; dogs and cats in the same litter meant the end of civilization."
A lyrical and charming book. Recommended !
Most recent customer reviews
A joy. Very charming. Achieves beautifully exactly what it sets out to do.Published 10 months ago by Pete
It took me awhile to enter into this story.....such a different way to describe all the characters, by the end I couldn't stop reading.Published on Jan. 12 2014 by Danycl
Because reading to about page 100 in the novel, one moves from one little vignette, briefly introducing a character not sighted before, to another, with another character without... Read morePublished on May 29 2013 by Jo
I loved this book, CS Richardson creates a wonderful sense of lhe life of ordinary Parisiennes at the turn of the century. The writing is magical and very poetic. Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2013 by Elizabeth Goossen
A very satisfying read. Richardson's prose is unique, poetic, lyrical, yet very modern and subtle. Even if you know where the story will take you, it doesn't matter. Read morePublished on Dec 9 2012 by Curious Chuck