The Paris Architect

The Paris Architect

A Novel

Book - 2013
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Baker & Taylor
A Parisian architect is paid handsomely to devise secret hiding spaces for Jews in his Nazi-occupied country but struggles with risking his life for a cause he is ambivalent towards, until a personal failure brings home their suffering.

Sourcebooks Inc.

A gifted architect reluctantly begins a secret life devising ingenious hiding places for Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris

Like most gentiles in Nazi-occupied Paris, architect Lucien Bernard has little empathy for the Jews. So when a wealthy industrialist offers him a large sum of money to devise secret hiding places for Jews, Lucien struggles with the choice of risking his life for a cause he doesn't really believe in. Ultimately he can't resist the challenge and begins designing expertly concealed hiding spaces--behind a painting, within a column, or inside a drainpipe--detecting possibilities invisible to the average eye. But when one of his clever hiding spaces fails horribly and the immense suffering of Jews becomes incredibly personal, he can no longer deny reality.

Written by an expert whose knowledge imbues every page, this story becomes more gripping with every life the architect tries to save.


The New York Times bestseller

"A beautiful and elegant account of an ordinary man's unexpected and reluctant descent into heroism during the second world war." —Malcolm Gladwell

A thrilling debut novel of World War II Paris, from an author who's been called "an up and coming Ken Follett." (Booklist)

In 1942 Paris, gifted architect Lucien Bernard accepts a commission that will bring him a great deal of money and maybe get him killed. But if he's clever enough, he'll avoid any trouble. All he has to do is design a secret hiding place for a wealthy Jewish man, a space so invisible that even the most determined German officer won't find it. He sorely needs the money, and outwitting the Nazis who have occupied his beloved city is a challenge he can't resist.

But when one of his hiding spaces fails horribly, and the problem of where to hide a Jew becomes terribly personal, Lucien can no longer ignore what's at stake. The Paris Architect asks us to consider what we owe each other, and just how far we'll go to make things right.

Written by an architect whose knowledge imbues every page, this story becomes more gripping with every soul hidden and every life saved.



Publisher: Naperville, IL : Sourcebooks Landmark, 2013
ISBN: 9781402284311
1402284314
Branch Call Number: FICTION BELFOURE 2013
Characteristics: 371 pages cm

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Librarian_Deb Dec 03, 2017

Lucien is an architect in Paris during the German occupation. He is just trying to survive. Then a remarkable opportunity arises. He can earn a lot of money and maybe even advance his career, but there is a catch. The project involves building secret hiding places for Jews. Lucien is indifferent to the plight of the Jews, so it is not for any benevolent reason that he considers the job offer. His desire to provide some little luxuries for himself to and finally be working at a project that challenges him proves to be the motivation that causes him to say yes. So he starts working with Auguste Manet, his wealthy benefactor, hoping that he can just do this one job for him and then be done with it. But as he gets more involved with Manet and with a host of other characters - including Manet's clients and a new love interest-Lucien finds himself becoming personally involved with the project. After all, there is a certain thrill to using his skill to hide people and fool the Germans. But will he pay the ultimate price for playing this cat and mouse game with them?
I enjoyed this story on several levels. I enjoyed the historical details about what life was like in Vichy France. I enjoyed the novelty of an architect using his skill to design such clever hiding places--something for which there is a great historical precedent. And I also found that Lucien and Manet and the other characters, particularly Lucien's love interest, were real enough to me that I genuinely cared what happened to them. The ending may have been a bit contrived, but it was emotionally satisfying for those wanting the "good guys" to win. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy well crafted historical fiction, especially if they enjoy those about World War II

l
lledomik
May 29, 2017

The concept of an architect hiding Jews is interesting, the execution of the story however falls flat. The writing lacks emotional complexity which makes most of the characters unconvincing. The story would have been better had Belfoure not attempted to include a romance. This was a story that just could not draw me in. Thankfully the writing was light and the chapters were very short so it was a quick read.

d
dmckenziehague
Apr 06, 2017

Interesting story which includes many facets of life in Paris under Nazi occupation. I found the story a compelling read which offered a look into the minds of complex characters who under incredible stress would risk their life to save strangers.

b
becker
Aug 16, 2016

This book takes place in Nazi occupied France during WWII and tells a story about the fear, guilt, threats and incredibly difficult choices that Parisians had to live with during that time. Overall - quite good.

Writing is unsophisticated and misses an opportunity to be good literature, not just good story telling. Nevertheless the plot is interesting and insightful. I did not know how the Gestapo pressured french citizens to expose hidden Jews and the moral conflict of working for the enemy to get enough to live is something we all need to remember before we judge those who had to live through these terrible times.

elvira13 May 30, 2016

good suspense; the characters are growing on you; makes you think how human nature can shine in difficult situations or how people can get lower than animals (didn't mean to offend any animal). warning - some scenes are difficult to read, too much cruelty...

e
EmilyEm
Feb 11, 2016

Lucien, the Paris architect, finds himself with a predicament finding work during the WW II Occupation by the Germans. When a wealthy businessman offers him a commission to design a factory, he doesn't realize he will also be asked to design spaces to conceal Jewish people in hiding. Can he accept the work knowing it may change his life?
Great cast of characters in book that poses the moral dilemmas faced by the French people during that time. Writer is able to tell many stories without bogging the reader down with too many details. Plot moves right along with plenty of intrigue.

l
Liber_vermis
Jan 11, 2016

In German-occupied Paris, when does working for the invader become collaboration? Does it make sense to risk the lives of other people by hiding a person sought by the Gestapo? Is the architect commonly a narcissist? This page-turner is laced with ethical and moral questions.

s
shelleyfisher
Dec 08, 2015

Interesting perspective on a much covered topic. Good read.

dairyqueen Oct 15, 2015

I enjoyed this book from cover to cover. Very thought provoking.

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