The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure is a novel I picked up from a free little library near my house in Woodland, Calif. Paris is a place that I love, so I thought this might bring me there for a little while– it definitely worked!
The story is about an architect, Lucien, who works for the Germans but also simultaneously builds hiding places for Jews in very clever parts of their homes– within a column, beneath a fake drain, behind a fireplace and so on.
Lucien has an ego and gets great satisfaction from seeing his ideas come to life, and so quickly, both for the Germans and for the Jews. Lucien is drawn into these projects because of his love of architecture, but he grows more committed to saving Jews as the story develops. He even ends up housing a boy named Pierre who becomes his adopted son.
I loved this book because the writing brought me straight into the WWII era and held me there with great descriptions of the architecture and all of the horrors of the war. This is a thoroughly written story about an architect who works on both sides and struggles with the complexity of that reality. The writing is excellent and easy to read. This was a great find for a summer read.
Has anyone else read this book or heard of it?