Thursday, April 21, 2016

Book Review: "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry" by Gabrielle Zevin

A.J. Fikry is kind of an unusual person.  He found himself on Alice Island thanks to his wife, though she very recently passed away.  So now he is alone and running the only bookstore on the Island.  His unusual tastes and mannerisms aside (he's not a warm & friendly kind of guy, at least not at first), he is also in possession of an incredibly rare and perfect copy of Edgar Allen Poe's Tamerlane.... until it is stolen. Not long after the theft, two things happen:  he is visited by a new sales rep named Amelia and a toddler named Maya is left abandoned in his store.  And this is what happens...

I read this book for my book group, and I absolutely loved it.  It was just so different from the others we had read.  This felt much lighter in tone than most of our other selections this year, which was sorely needed.  A.J. is a big fan of short story as a literary medium, and while this is not a short story - it still resembles one.  There isn't a whole lot of character development or backstory - there is just enough.  There are a couple story lines working together and a twist or turn at the end.

This also reads like a love letter to books and independent bookstores.  Each chapter starts with a shelf talker that A.J. has written about a short story... and these become more and more personal as the book goes on.  Many good books are referenced or alluded to throughout the text, and there is a great scene about an author event that was hilarious and thankfully has never happened to me (knock on wood).

This was a delightful and quick read that I think would appeal to many different readers!

*****
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin
Algonquin Books, 2014
272 pages
Source:  Library
*****

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1 comment:

Susan said...

I enjoyed this one, too. I love books about books/bookstore owners.

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