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Time Was Soft There

A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.

Jeremy Mercer

Picador

Wandering through Paris's Left Bank one day, poor and unemployed, Canadian reporter Jeremy Mercer ducked into a little bookstore called Shakespeare & Co. Mercer bought a book, and the staff invited him up for tea. Within weeks, he was living above the store, working for the proprietor, George Whitman, patron saint of the city's down-and-out writers, and immersing himself in the love affairs and low-down watering holes of the shop's makeshift staff. Time Was Soft There is the story of a journey down a literary rabbit hole in the shadow of Notre Dame, to a place where a hidden bohemia still thrives.

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Time Was Soft There
1.It was a gray winter Sunday when I came to the bookstore.As had been my habit during that troubled time, I was out walking. There was never a specific destination, merely an accumulation of random turns and city blocks to numb the hours and distract from the problems at hand. It was surprisingly easy to forget oneself among the bustling markets and grand boulevards, the manicured parks and marble monuments.On this particular day, a thin drizzle had begun falling early in the afternoon. At first, it was barely enough to wet the wool of a sweater, let alone interrupt this
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REVIEWS

Praise for Time Was Soft There

"Jeremy Mercer's tale of George Whitman and his beloved bookstore is a book of revelations, for it tells the hard-to-discover true story of George's life and of the twenty-thousand-and-one nights of this enchanted place that continues to be, for its habitées as well as for its creator, a way of life."--Lawrence Ferlinghetti, cofounder and owner, City Lights Bookstore
 
"The memoir is much more than an entertaining romp through Parisian literary bohemia at the turn of the millennium. Time Was Soft There will likely be the last firsthand account of an aging legend."--Newsweek
 
"Mercer has fashioned a colorful de facto biography of Whitman . . . a tightly written, insightful memoir of Left Bank literary radicalism. A great read, both funny and quietly moving."--San Francisco Chronicle
 
"The milieu he evokes, while a long way from that of the Lost Generation, has its own charm."--The Wall Street Journal
 
"The memoir ably captures a romanticized version of the bum's life."--The New Yorker
 
"Mercer is a fine writer with a keen and jaundiced eye."--Chicago Tribune

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Jeremy Mercer

  • Jeremy Mercer was formerly a journalist for the Ottawa Citizen. He is the author of two crime books and founder of Kilometer Zero, a cult literary magazine currently being published out of Shakespeare & Co.
  • Jeremy Mercer ©Steven Bladh
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Time Was Soft There

A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.

Jeremy Mercer

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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