Book Review: The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

February 26, 2015

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure is a novel set in Paris during World War II. This is the author’s debut novel.

  • 384 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (July 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402294158

Book Review The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

My Rat­ing for The Paris Architect3

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The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure is set in Paris, 1942, during the Nazi occupation. Mr. Belfoure is an architect and this book was certainly interesting from his point of view.

I thought that the protagonist, Lucien Bernard, who is looking out for himself was a good and interesting choice. Mr. Bernard doesn’t care about the fate of France’s Jews and or the plight of his country. Lucien, a second rate architect, only accepts his benefactor’s offer to design hiding places for Jews so he can get contracts building factories for the Germans. Lucien even justifies his choice by stating that he is actually building factories for the French to use after the war is over.

Besides Lucien, I didn’t feel any connection with other characters. For example, Lucien’s wife is just there to have room for his mistress, a vehicle to show the evil of the Nazis and put poor Lucien in dangerous situations.

The dialog felt wooden to me, I can’t put my finger on why though. Maybe the slang sounded too modern? I also didn’t like the swear words in the narrative, putting them into mouths of characters is fine, but why in the narrative when isn’t necessary.

I read a lot of WWII books, and this is a fine one when it focuses on history, art and especially architecture. The author does a skillful job at weaving those elements into his writing which makes the story readable and enjoyable.

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Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I bought this book.
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One Comment

  • Sharon Henning February 26, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    That’s interesting about the dialogue. I always try to analyze that as well. Why does some dialogue in books seem forced or artificial and others flow and are convincing. It’s something I work at myself with my own writing.

    I don’t care for raw language at all when I read any book. I’ve always seen it as a sign of someone who doesn’t possess a rich enough vocabulary. I know others disagree with me on that.

    But it is funny that it was in the narrative. I’ve never seen that before. I wonder if the author was trying to be original?

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