Zevin has created memorable characters and a plot that takes some unexpected turns. Most of these storied folk improve themselves as the novel progresses. Tragedies suffered by some characters generally lead to greater happiness for others. Avid readers will enjoy the many allusions to other books and authors.
Publishers Weekly, 2014-05-26 Bookstore owner A.J. Fikry is a bitter curmudgeon, but, as we soon learn, his sour attitude masks deep sadness and loneliness about the death of his wife. The mysterious arrival of a baby girl in A.J.'s shop with a note asking him to care for her brings about events that open his heart to love, hope, and life. Brick's empathetic narration captures A.J. perfectly in all his cantankerous and tender moods, and particularly when he rhapsodizes over books, in which he finds not only comfort and enjoyment, but a lens through which to interpret life. Brick voices A.J. in a way that sounds entirely natural-for example, when A.J. is trying to work something out, Brick speaks slowly, as though searching for the right words to express his thoughts, and then sounds startled and triumphant as A.J. has a realization. His warm, compassionate, thoughtful reading will draw listeners in throughout this gentle, sweetly satisfying tale. An Algonquin hardcover. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly, 2014-01-20 The only thing that's "storied" in the life of A.J. Fikry, a curmudgeonly independent bookseller, in this funny, sad novel from Zevin (The Hole We're In), is his obvious love of literature-particularly short stories. Fikry runs Island Books, located on Alice Island, a fictional version of Martha's Vineyard. It's a "persnickety little bookstore," in the words of Amelia Loman, the new sales rep for Knightley Press. Her first meeting with Fikry does not go well. He's disgruntled by the state of publishing, and bereft because his beloved wife, Nic, recently died in a car accident. Soon after the meeting, he suffers another loss: a rare first edition of Edgar Allan Poe's poem Tamerlane (Fikry's primary retirement asset) goes missing. But then Fikry finds an abandoned toddler in his bookstore with a note saying, "This is Maya. She is twenty-five months old." Somewhat unbelievably, Maya ends up in his care and, predictably enough, opens the irascible bookseller's heart. The surprisingly expansive story includes a romance between Fikry and Amelia, and follows Maya to the age of 18 before arriving at a bittersweet denouement. Zevin is a deft writer, clever and witty, and her affection for the book business is obvious. Agent: Doug Stewart, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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