Monday, 5 January 2015

The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

A.J. Fikry is the owner of Island Books which is suffering its worst sales in its history. This is not helped by A.J. himself who is grumpy and unwilling to try selling any books that he does not like or approve of. When he is approached by Amelia Loman, the new and idealistic representative from Knightly Publishing with their upcoming list, his attitude to her is hostile to say the least.

A.J.’s life has not turned out as he planned. He is already widowed and is left with nothing but his failing bookshop and a rare edition of poems by Poe. That is until the book is stolen. However, he soon finds himself left with a new responsibility and he does not foresee just how much his life it about to change as a consequence.

This book was a wonderful start to my reading for 2015. It was a delightful and charming story with characters that I liked and really cared about. All of the characters have a quirkiness about them which made them both engaging and lovable.

I found myself wanting to sit and read this book in one sitting as it was a wonderful combination of sadness and humour. There were a few occasions when I chuckled to myself but there are also moments of real poignancy. I was completely gripped from the first page. Our introduction to A.J.’s irascibility at the outset of the novel meant I could not help but like him and ignited my desire to find out how the author was going to shape his character as the story progressed.

My only criticism is the ending which just felt a bit rushed but this does not detract from this book being a very enjoyable read.

However, this is a little gem of a book and one I am sure I will reread in the future. It is an uplifting story of second chances and the power of love to transform lives. An excellent read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes books about books.

ISBN:  978 1408704615

Publisher: Little Brown

Price: £11.59

About the Author: 

Gabrielle Zevin  is the author several Young Adult books and is most well known for her novel, Elsewhere. She began her writing career at age fourteen as a music critic for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

She is a graduate of Harvard University. After many years on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, she recently moved to Silver Lake, Los Angeles.

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