A telling tale from the realm of hungry ghosts:
In the middle of summer, a small used-book shop on the Left Bank, in the rue Daguerre, announced that it would be closing. The owner said he had no choice but to close; he couldn’t sell enough second-hand books to make a living and pay the ever-higher rent.
I once bought a book there that I had been seeking for years (a study of Joyce’s work in French). The owner was happy to discuss it with me.
He sometimes served his clients tea. There was often jazz playing. He had regularly changed the books in the display window to protect them from the sun.
In the end, books were discounted more than 50%. The shop closed at the end of July.
When I passed by early this week, workmen were renovating the space. The next day, stylish shelves had been built along the walls. The following day, the new shop was open, bustling with the business of getting and spending, displaying its new merchandise: fashion accessories.