Book Review – Time Was Soft There

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

by Mercer, Jeremy

Memorable Quote:  “After that, I put more faith in Chris’s stories. When you see a man holding a machine gun, all of a sudden all his other wild tales become a little more credible.”

This book chronicles what happened to Jeremy Mercer when he ended up living at Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, France.  Mercer describes in vivid detail the odd collection of personalities that land at Shakespeare & Co., from long-time owner George Whitman to Mercer himself.  Mercer’s story revolves around the evolution of Shakespeare & Co. through time, providing an exposition of the day-to-day life at the store-come-residence.  It is here that a myriad set of individuals come to spend time – having lost their fortune, lost there way, lost their loved ones – all united by the desire to write.  Those having some ability to write as deemed by George himself after scrutiny of their work are permitted to stay at the store “monetary rent” free while they write or otherwise “work” on their work.  You’ll enjoy this ride through Paris on the edge of poverty, in the mix of intellectuals, and under the wing of Mercer, who carries you along on his journey with compelling anecdotes and provides a window into a world you otherwise would never see.

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