‘The Paris Hours’
by Alex George
“The Paris Hours” tells the stories of four characters on a single day in 1927 and culminates when all cross paths at the end of the day. We meet a puppeteer, an artist, a journalist and a housekeeper, each with a backstory, a personal loss, and a mission — tragic, dangerous, painful, secretive.
Sometimes a book with alternating stories will have me favoring one over another, but Alex George’s storytelling skills and elegant prose kept me fully invested in each character and plotline. Paris itself comes alive here, and you will be transported to Montparnasse, the Luxembourg Gardens, and even Shakespeare & Company Bookstore. Marcel Proust is a featured character, and appearances by Ernest Hemingway, Josephine Baker and Gertrude Stein lend a sense of history and authenticity.
As the four main characters go about their day, we come to understand how they have coped with the consequences of their lives — decisions made, chances not taken, or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The end of the book, when the characters finally intersect, will leave you breathless and wanting for more. ♦
-Review by Alice Meyer
by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu
Graphic novels are an interesting genre. There’s a lot of darkness, a good dose of the abstract, and a great deal of Art with a capital “A.” Yet there is sub-type that gets overlooked far too often — funny, sweet, feel-good stories with excellent artwork that just make a reader smile. Not everything has to be so serious all the time.
“Mooncakes” is a fantastic example of the lighter side of graphic novels. In the style of Studio Ghibli, the art almost glows off the page while telling the story of teenage witch Nova and her former crush Tam in a truly magical coming-of-age story. Even better, “Mooncakes” is full of memorable, quirky characters with wonderfully expansive representation. It is a joy to see different ethnicities, genders, disabilities, atypical family structures add a richness and sense of reality to a superb story. There is so much homogeneity in the literary world. Walker and Xu have used the unique properties of graphic novels to show the depth and color of reality in a beautiful way.
“Mooncakes” is a romantic, sparkling adventure populated with some of my favorite characters I’ve ever read. It’s a delightful, quick read for teens and adults in equal measure. Don’t miss it. ♦
-Review by Julie Goodrich