The Paris Architect
The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
Pages: 367 Published: 2013
The book: During the German occupation of Paris in 1942, Lucian Bernard, a talented, young architect, is struggling to find work that will support himself and his wife.
He is offered a commission designing factories for the Third Reich, but it’s contingent on him taking another better-paying job that must remain a secret. He is to design hiding places for Jews so cleverly constructed that the German’s won’t find them.
Lucian needs the money. He wants the work, but he harbors anti-Semitic feelings and is indifferent to the plight of French Jews. Will Lucian be able to carry out both commissions? Will he be caught or betrayed?
You might like it because: It’s an exciting thriller with twists and turns that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
What did other people say?
“Heart, reluctant heroism, and art blend together in this spine-chilling page-turner.” –Publishers Weekly
“A beautiful and elegant account of an ordinary man’s unexpected and reluctant descent into heroism during the Second World War.” – Malcolm Gladwell
Awards & Recognition:
New York Times Best Seller
Finalist for the 2015 International Dublin Literary Award
How quickly will you get into the book? There’s danger for Lucian within the first eight lines of the book. From that point on I was holding my breath to see what happens next.
You might not like it because: Lucian has many unlikeable traits, and his change to a nicer character is very rapid, which may frustrate some readers. There are elements of the plot that seem a little implausible, and the language used by characters sometimes feels more America 2016 than France 1942. These two things together might, at times, draw you out of the story momentarily.
What might you read next?
Continue with a World War II theme and read All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr.
Remain in Paris and read Paula McLain’s, The Paris Wife, a fictional account of Ernest Hemmingway’s first marriage to Hadley Richardson.
Or read about another network of safe houses and escape routes in Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad.