The Emperor of Paris
Like his father before him, Octavio runs the Notre-Dame bakery, and knows the secret recipe for the perfect Parisian baguette. But, also like his father, Octavio has never mastered the art of reading and his only knowledge of the world beyond the bakery door comes from his own imagination. Just a few streets away, Isabeau works out of sight in the basement of the Louvre, trying to forget her disfigured beauty by losing herself in the paintings she restores and the stories she reads. The two might never have met, but for a curious chain of coincidences involving a mysterious traveller, an impoverished painter, a jaded bookseller, and a book of fairytales, lost and found . . .
• "The Emperor of Paris is a metaphorical feast for the senses, each sentence offering up some little detail--a richly hued peacock feather, a dash of raspberry jam--to linger over and savour." --Winnipeg Free Press
• "The spareness of Richardson's approach has the opposite effect of what one might expect: his restraint with details lends weight and significance to every word, every image, and the novel shimmers with the heightened clarity of a dream. . . . Within 50 or 60 pages of the slim volume, the reader will be swept up, and will read with anxious, bated breath, yearning for that destined moment, that perfect singularity and culmination." --National Post