Saturday, 19 October 2013

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

Image courtesy of Alonquin books


Gabrielle Zevin's new novel, The Storied Life of A.J Zevin,  is described as "a love letter to the world of books - and booksellers - that change our lives by giving us the stories that open our hearts and enlighten our minds."
Obviously I was immediately intrigued! What followed was not the sort of book I'm generally drawn to and yet it kept me engaged and intrigued until the final page. It's the story of the titular A.J Fikry, owner of  Island Books, which has a sign reading, "No man is an island, every book is a world" above the door. At the beginning A.J is widowed, his business is struggling and he has withdrawn from his fellow inhabitants of Alice Island. A robbery swiftly followed by the unexpected arrival of a mysterious package in his bookstore changes his life entirely and he learns to open his heart again, to books and to love. This is a well written and well crafted tale with some surprising twists along the way. It's not a groundbreaking story, despite the twists it often trod a somewhat predictable path, which isn't a criticism, I think books sometimes have to give the reader what they're expecting. What sets this novel apart though is that this is a love letter to books, to booksellers and to book lovers. I guarantee that your to be read pile will be even bigger once you reach the end of this heartwarming tale.
Disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book through Netgalley for my honest review.

The Storied Life of A.J Fikry will be published by Alonquin Books and released in the UK in April 2014.

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