The Collected Works of A. J. Fikry
A.J. Fikry owns a failing bookshop. His wife has just died, in tragic circumstances. His rare and valuable first edition has been stolen. His life is a wreck. Amelia is a book rep, with a big heart, and a lonely life. Maya is the baby left on A.J.'s bookshop floor with a note. What happens in the bookshop that changes the lives of these seemingly normal but extraordinary characters? This is the story of how unexpected love can rescue you and bring you back to real life, in a world that you won't want to leave, with characters that you will come to love.
- Hardback | 256 pages
- 145 x 221 x 29mm | 460g
- 13 Mar 2014
- Little, Brown Book Group
- Little, Brown
- London, United Kingdom
Zevin has done something old-fashioned and fairly rare these days. She has written an entertaining novel, modest in its scope, engaging and funny without being cloying or sentimental. On top of all that, it is marvelously optimistic about the future of books and bookstores and the people who love both Washington Post
Zevin has done something old-fashioned and fairly rare these days. She has written an entertaining novel, modest in its scope, engaging and funny without being cloying or sentimental. On top of all that, it is marvelously optimistic about the future of books and bookstores and the people who love both Washington Post Packed with the love of a life lived around books Metro This wonderful, funny, uplifting homage to bookshops is an absolute treat. I've bought it for everyone I know -- Paula Daly Huffington Post Delightful! I read [it] in one sitting. This novel has humor, romance, a touch of suspense, but most of all love--love of books and bookish people and, really, all of humanity in its imperfect glory -- Eowyn Ivey, author of The Snow Child I read this book in one big greedy gulp. A charming and funny love letter to the written word - it will leave you smiling and with a large lump in your throat -- Natasha Solomons, bestselling author of Mr Rosenblum's List and The Novel in the Viola The Collected Works of A. J. Fikry reminds us what saves us all from a life of loneliness and isolation: our sense of empathy; our ability to love and be loved; our willingness to care and be cared for. Gabrielle Zevin has written a wonderful, moving, endearing story of redemption and transformation that will sing in your heart for a very, very long time -- Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain Readers who delighted in Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows's The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Rachel Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, and Jessica Brockmole's Letters from Skye will be equally captivated by this adult novel by a popular YA author about a life of books, redemption, and second chances. Funny, tender, and moving, it reminds us all exactly why we read and why we love Library Journal In this sweet, uplifting homage to bookstores, Zevin perfectly captures the joy of connecting people and books ... Filled with interesting characters, a deep knowledge of bookselling, wonderful critiques of classic titles, and very funny depictions of book clubs and author events, this will prove irresistible to book lovers everywhere Booklist A breezy, big-hearted treat, especially if you've ever wondered about the inner workings of America's national treasures--neighborhood bookstores -- Jami Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins Zevin is a deft writer, clever and witty, and her affection for the book business is obvious -- Publishers Weekly Sometimes funny, sometimes true to life and always entertaining ... A likable literary love story about selling books and finding love Kirkus Reviews I was captivated ... a touching, funny and uplifting novel that reminds us how books have the power to shape and transform our lives Psychologies
About Gabrielle Zevin
Gabrielle Zevin was raised by parents who took her to the library like it was church. She suspects that is why she became a writer. Her career began at age fourteen when an angry letter to her local newspaper about a Guns 'n' Roses concert resulted in a job as a music critic. Over eight novels for adults and young people, she has written about female soldiers in Iraq, mafia princesses in retro-future New York City, teenage girls in the afterlife, talking dogs, amnesiacs, and the difficulties of loving one person over many years. She is probably best known for her first novel, Elsewhere, which has been translated into 25 languages. She is also the screenwriter of the cult hit Conversations with Other Women.
Our customer reviews
A.J Fikry is the owner of Island Books, a bookstore on Alice Island off the NE American coast. At the start of the novel he has recently lost his wife in a car accident and his bookshop is not doing well except during the short tourist season. He has become an unlikeable, grumpy man who drinks too much and lives on frozen dinners. He doesn't have time for most modern popular fiction, is rude to Publishers reps and refuses to read their new releases. However, life starts to change for AJ when he wakes up one morning after a drinking binge to find his one and only very valuable antique book has been stolen. As a consequence he decides there is no point in locking his door any longer since he has lost his only valuable asset. Returning one day from his daily run, he finds that someone has instead left something for him in his shop, an abandoned baby girl, Maya. As AJ takes on the responsibility of looking after Maya and allows love back into his life, he gradually starts to reach out to his community and becomes more human. His attitude to popular books gradually changes and he starts recommending books to people that he knows they will enjoy. He even becomes involved in community events and starts to host book clubs at the shop, including a crime book club run by his friend, Lambiase, the police chief. It’s interesting that this book was released with two titles, The Collected Works of AJ Fikry and The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, depending on where you live. They are both excellent titles for the book. The first is taken from a statement made by AJ in the book: “We are not quite novels. We are not quite short stories. In the end, we are collected works” and describes how life is made up of many different stories and episodes. The second title is obviously a play on words as AJ loves short stories and throughout the book is putting together a collection of his favourites for Maya. However, the title also suggests that AJ’s life has been made up of many different layers or storeys, first his life as a child, then with his wife before her accident, then alone again with his grief and finally with Maya and others that he lets into his life and all the while he has been sustained by his love of books and reading. This is a warm-hearted, gentle story of the power of love and a love of reading. The story might be a little predictable but has enough small surprises to keep it interesting. I particularly liked the way each chapter starts with the title of one of AJ’s favourite short stories from the collection he is putting together for Maya with a note explaining to Maya why she should read it. Gorgeous book – highly recommended to all those who love reading and books about books.show moreby Carolyn Scott