The Paris Architect

The Paris Architect

by Charles Belfoure

Gail Reid (04/24/14): Like many readers on this site, I really enjoyed The Paris Architect. During World War II in Paris, architect Lucien Bernard cleverly designs hiding places in buildings for Jews.

The evolution of Lucien from indifference to the plight of the Jews to compassion for their oppression is the underlying theme of the novel. But the real moral dilemma lies in whether Lucien is a collaborator who benefited greatly from the Reich. His career has soared by designing buildings that produce weapons used against the French.

I have to agree that the writing is relatively unsophisticated from this first time novelist; but the original concept and moral questions make up for it.
Rating: ****

Debbie Weiss (04/16/14): I have to agree with Dale and Katie on this one --- this is one of the best books that I have read in a very long time. The story was exciting and I was intrigued with the concept of an architect being thrilled with his own ability to outwit the Nazis by creating original and amazing hiding places for Jews being sought in Nazi France.

Yes, there were some very difficult scenes where torture is being performed on Jews; this was difficult to stomach. However, what I really did like was the fact that the characters were human with positive and negative traits rolled into one individual. Nobody knows how one will react in a situation where your own life might be at risk if you help out another. There definitely are the righteous among us, though. A definite 5-star rating in my book!
Rating: *****

Judy Stanton (03/31/14): I liked the story of the Paris Architect much more than I liked the writing. The author just seemed to use such trite phrases, making the dialog so simplistic, that it bothered me. (Ex: It got so bad, that he couldn't screw Adele in that bedroom anymore.) While it was a quick read and the architectural angle of finding places to hide Jews was clever, I didn't feel that it was as well written as other Holocaust novels I've read, like Sara's Key, Those Who Save Us or Suite Francaise, to name a few. It did present the moral dilemmas faced by Parisians who put their lives in danger for helping Jews, amidst the harshest of Nazi violence. The ending seemed to wrap up far too quickly and neatly for me, with an almost "and they lived happily ever after." Sorry!!!!
Rating: ***

Katie Gronsbell (12/30/13): One of the best books that I have read in recent times. The ending was unpredictable. Excellent writing. Go to the Nazi occupation of Paris and become engrossed in the role an architect played in both hiding Jews and building German armament factories.
Rating: *****

Dale Israel (12/23/13): If you're looking for a page turner, look no further! Charles Belfoure's debut novel The Paris Architect is one of the best books I've read in recent months. I must add,however, it is not for the faint of heart.

The book takes place in German occupied France during WWII. Lucien Bernard is a gifted, young architect but times are tough and jobs are few. His luck suddenly changes when a wealthy, non-Jewish businessman convinces him to create hiding places for Jews who are being hunted down by the Gestapo. With the promise of other large projects, Lucien accepts the challenge though the fear of being discovered and killed weighs heavy on his mind.

I could NOT put this book down! Belfoure is an excellent writer who provides insight into life in France during the war. There are several gruesome scenes which could be a "turn off" to some but hey, this is a book about Natzis so what do you expect? Chapters are short and it was easy to say "Okay, one more chapter and then I'll cook dinner" .... Four chapters later and I was still at it! I highly recommend this book.
Rating: *****

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