Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs: The Left Bank World of Shakespeare and Co by Jeremy Mercer - review by Charlie Campbell

Charlie Campbell

The Madness of King George

Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs: The Left Bank World of Shakespeare and Co

By

Weidenfeld & Nicolson 224pp £16.99 order from our bookshop
 

The sign on the front of Shakespeare and Company in Paris would have you believe many things: that there are other branches of the bookshop in Rome, Moscow, Bogotá, New York and Vienna; that it is the same Shakespeare and Company that published James Joyce’s Ulysses and provided Ernest Hemingway, F Scott Fitzgerald, George Bernard Shaw, Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein with a meeting place in Paris; and that its owner, George Whitman, is the son of the poet Walt Whitman.

The fact that none of this is true should not detract from Shakespeare and Company’s considerable charm. For years the shop has been a literary haven, offering shelter to over 40,000 people from all over the world – artists, writers, refugees, even me. Six years ago, I worked there, while

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter