M. Perdu, owner and proprietor of The Literary Apothecary, a book-filled barge on the Seine has a gift his father called transperception. He can see and hear through most people's camouflage, and behind it he sees all the things they worry and dream about, and the things they lack. He is thus able to make perfect books to people matches, "putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments; that's how [he sells] books." Jean's life is solitary. When the love of his life, Manon, left him twenty-one years ago, he literally walled off that section of his life, living an austere existence until a letter is found that changes everything. With a disenchanted writer, Max, he releases his book barge from its moorings and ventures on a journey to find peace, love, and happiness. This book is simply amazing. Filled with literary references that warm a bibliophile's heart, it delves into the nature of love, relationship, grief and death. At its end, we are gifted with recipes from Provence, and Jean Perdu's Emergency Literary Pharmacy, a delight in itself.
"Books can do many things, but not everything. We have to live the important things, not read them."
"Books are a very recent means of expression in the broad sweep of history, capable of changing the world."
"Reading - an endless journey: a long, indeed endless journey that made one more temperate as well as more loving and kind."
"Books were a means of helping."
"Memories are like wolves. You can't lock them away and hope they leave you alone."