The Emperor of Paris

C.S. Richardson

Published: 1 May 2014
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 288 pages
ISBN: 9781846271137


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 an impoverished painter, a jaded bookseller, and a book of fairytales, lost and found... Evocative, romantic, and wise, this is a magical novel about the power of stories - to help us find enchantment, freedom, and sometimes even love.

About the author

Image of C.S. Richardson

CS Richardson's first novel, The End of the Alphabet, was an international bestseller published in thirteen countries and ten languages. Winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book (Canada & the Caribbean), it was named to four Best of the Year lists and was adapted for radio drama by BBC's Radio 4. Richardson is also an accomplished and award-winning book designer. He lives and works in Toronto, Canada. More about the author


‘[A] charming tale... The character sketches and evocative description of the neighborhood enrich the fabric of the story... A masterly achievement’ Tess Bridgwater



‘[This is] painterly novel and a writerly one, the language delivered in the careful, enigmatic, deliberately restrained brush strokes of an impressionist... [Richardson's] restraint with details lends weight and significance to every word, every image, and the novel shimmers with the heightened clarity of a dream... the reader will be swept up, and will read with anxious, bated breath, yearning for that destined moment, that perfect singularity and culmination’ Robert J. Weirsema

‘A long-awaited follow-up to The End of the Alphabet... The Emperor of Paris is about all the things that stand in the way of two people seemingly destined to be together’ Mark Medley

‘A quirky eccentricity emanates from the pages... Richardson paints his picture with the deft subtlety of an Impressionist... A charming tale’

‘A rare gem of a book. The prose is considered, yet light and engaging. The plot is careful, ephemeral and tightly wound. The book picks you up, then spins you along. Sharply, sweetly unforgettable’ Linda Richards


‘Delightful... an inverted love story, [beginning] where the story ends’

‘I adore this book. It is fragile and beautiful. It aches with romance. It is for art lovers, book lovers and Francophiles. It tells its tale quietly and splendidly’ Katie Ward, author

‘In this beautiful follow-up to his award-winning first novel, The End of the Alphabet, Richardson constructs vignettes that unfold over several decades, ultimately connected by twists of fate braided like brioche... Tenderly drawn’ Joana Lourenco

‘Quietly beautiful... This is a novel to relish... If you love finely crafted sentences and spare, elegant prose; if you love charming characters and a tender, affecting story; if you love books and Paris and boulangeries, you will love this novel’

‘Remarkable... A feast for the senses, and a deeply touching account of love, loss and destiny’

‘Richardson's spare yet poetic writing truly lifts this story off the page and brings the reader into the magical world he's created. I was completely swept away by this mesmerizing tale of love and imagination’ Suzanne Gardner

‘Spare and concise... a few well-chosen words [can] create a character’

‘Stunning... the grace and humanity of Richardson's storytelling is the stuff of classics... Romantics, book lovers, day dreamers beware - CS Richardson is out to steal your heart’ Mike Landry

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