Probable stories: La Petite Librairie sur la Seine, by Rebecca Raisin
I am Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly fiction, non-fiction and poetry review.
Rebecca Raisin is the author of several novels, including the series “Le Petit Paris”. His short stories have been published in various anthologies and fiction magazine series. La Petite Librairie on the Seine is another novel that takes place in a bookstore.
The story begins, writes Rebecca, “With a heavy heart I placed the sign in the display window. All books at -50%. // If things weren’t improving quickly, he would read Closing of the sale. The mere thought was enough to make me shiver. The fall sky was awash in purples and orange specks as I stepped outside to examine the window from the sidewalk. // Star-shaped leaves crunching under the feet. I forced a smile. A sale wouldn’t hurt, and maybe it would turn the bookstore numbers from red to black, which I desperately needed. My rent had been increased ”(9-10). Almost all bookstores have this problem. Sarah, Rebecca’s friend, knows about it.
The pressure continues, writes Raisin: “Imagine if I were to close the store for good, like so many other stores have been doing lately? It pained me to think that people were missing the real bookstore experience. Wasn’t it much better when you could walk into a dimly lit space and make your way in search of the right novel? You can run a finger along the thorns, smell that glorious old book scent, open them, and unfold a dog-eared page. Read someone else’s footnote in the margin, or a highlighted passage, and see why that phrase or metaphor dazzled the previous owner ”(14-15). A word for the wise here: do not “listen” to your pages, but by all means cherish all the marginalized who come your way! To continue, “The books were picky when it came to their owners and gave off a sort of sound and almost imperceptible purr when the right person was nearby. Most people didn’t know that books choose us when we need them most ”(14-15).
Sarah receives a letter from a friend in Paris. Sophie writes that she must leave Paris and return to the United States. She wants to trade bookstores for an unknown hour. Both agree. “It was as if the City of Lights had done everything I could on my first morning here. The air was perfumed with promise. I rummaged through my backpack, looking for sunglasses. My face was split with a cheesy smile. // I was really there! Paris! And so far, I hadn’t been ripped off, assaulted, or even ripped off, as Mom warned me about four million times before kissing me goodbye. Rolling my suitcase, stifling a yawn, I went to the ticket office to ask where the station was ”(41).
Rebecca Raisin embarks on a wonderful adventure in La Petite Librairie on the Seine. Anyone who has visited the City of Light or who wishes to visit Paris will find this exciting adventure. 5 stars!
Likely Stories is a KWBU production. I am Jim McKeown. Join me next time for the probable stories, and happy reading!