Thursday, May 13, 2021 - 12:00pm
Cosponsored by the Mechanics' Institute and the American Library in Paris
This illuminating novel based on a true World War II story portrays the heroic acts of resistance by the librarians at the American Library in Paris who saved the library, its members and the freedoms cherished by French citizens during the Nazi occupation.
Paris, 1939: Young and ambitious Odile Souchet has it all: her handsome police officer beau and a dream job at the American Library in Paris. When the Nazis march into Paris, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear, including her beloved library. Together with her fellow librarians, Odile joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. But when the war finally ends, instead of freedom, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.
Montana, 1983: Lily is a lonely teenager looking for adventure in small-town Montana. Her interest is piqued by her solitary, elderly neighbor. As Lily uncovers more about her neighbor’s mysterious past, she finds that they share a love of language, the same longings, and the same intense jealousy, never suspecting that a dark secret from the past connects them.
A powerful novel that explores the consequences of our choices and the relationships that make us who we are—family, friends, and favorite authors—The Paris Library shows that extraordinary heroism can sometimes be found in the quietest of places.
Intelligent and sensuously rich.... A novel tailor-made for those who cherish books and libraries. – Kirkus Reviews
A love letter to Paris, the power of books, and the beauty of intergenerational friendship – Booklist
Delightful...richly detailed...Historical fiction fans will be drawn to the realistic narrative and the bond of friendship forged between a widow and a lonely young girl; – Publisher’s Weekly
Janet Skeslien Charles is the award-winning author of Moonlight in Odessa, which was published in 10 languages. Her shorter work has appeared in revues such as Slice and Montana Noir. Janet first became interested in the incredible true story of the librarians who stood up to the Nazis when she worked as the programs manager at the American Library in Paris. Her novel The Paris Library will be published in 27 countries. She divides her time between Montana and Paris. (Photo by Richard Beban)
Laura Sheppard has worked as the Director of Events at Mechanics’ Institute, San Francisco since 2000 where she presents authors programs, literary festivals and the CinemaLit Film Series. She produced Mechanics' Institute's Bloomsday Noon, a video/film production with director Bruce Bierman. Her performing credits include her signature solo show, Still Life With Stein, based on the writings of Gertrude Stein and a performance piece, Paris Portraits about San Francisco writer, Harriet Lane Levy. She is co-artistic director and producer for the Yiddish Theatre Ensemble. https://klezcalifornia.org/
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Mechanics' Institute and other membership library members Free
Public sliding scale, $5 or $10
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Future Meet the Author(s)
Apr 22 - 5:30pm
Shakespeare's Essays: Sampling Montaigne from Hamlet to The Tempest, on Zoom
Author Peter G. Platt in conversation with Philippa Kelly, Dramaturg, California Shakespeare Theater, cosponsored by California Shakespeare Theater
Apr 29 - 5:30pm
May 14 - 12:00pm
May 27 - 5:30pm