3.48 (4,929 ratings by Goodreads)
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A darkly comic tale of exile, unrequited love and the redemptive power of books.Firmin is born in the basement of a ramshackle old bookstore. He's a sensitive, creative soul but misunderstood. Because Firmin is a rat. Not only that, but as the runt of the litter, he is forced to compete for food and ends up chewing on the books that surround him. Firmin soon realizes his source of nourishment has given him the ability to read and this discovery fills him with an insatiable hunger for literature and a very unratlike sense of the world and his place in it. As Firmin navigates the shadowy streets of his decaying area, looking for understanding, his excitement, loneliness, fear, and self-consciousness become remarkably human and undeniably touching. But the days of the bookshop and of the close community around it are numbered. The area has been marked out for 'urban regeneration' and soon the faded glory of the bookshop, the small local theatre, the unique shops and small cafes will face the bulldozers and urban planners...Brilliantly original and richly allegorical, Firmin is brimming with charm and wistful longing for a world that understands the redemptive power of literature and treasures its seedy theaters, one-of-a-kind characters, and cluttered bookshops.'A wonderful celebration of the way reading enriches your life. Firmin may be a rat - poisoned by people he thinks are his friends - but his imagination soars as high as that of any human.' GUARDIAN'Surprising and moving meditation on the advantages (and disadvantages) of an entirely fictional life. Eloquent and witty, Firmin speaks for the book-loving rodent in all of us.' Karen Joy Fowler, bestselling author of WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 20mm | 240.4g
  • Orion Publishing Co
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 075382339X
  • 9780753823392
  • 160,625

Review quote

Cannot fail to move even the hardest of hearts * GOOD BOOK GUIDE * A melancholy and quirky debut novel...a heartbreaking tale of frustrated intellect and urban regeneration * OBSERVER * The charming and allegorical tale of a rat born in a bookshop who inadvertently eats Finnegans Wake, and so begins his lifelong taste for high literature. * TIMES *
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About Sam Savage

A native of South Carolina now living in Madison, WIsconsin, Sam Savage received his bachelor and doctoral degrees in Philosophy from Yale University where he taught briefly. He has worked as a bicycle mechanic, carpenter, commercial fisherman and letterpress printer. This is his first novel.
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Review Text

The charming and allegorical tale of a rat born in a bookshop who inadvertently eats Finnegans Wake, and so begins his lifelong taste for high literature. TIMES
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Rating details

4,929 ratings
3.48 out of 5 stars
5 19% (936)
4 31% (1,551)
3 32% (1,601)
2 13% (627)
1 4% (214)

Our customer reviews

A man's life can often be like the one of a thinking rat. Different from his kindred, isolated and lonely, dreaming without the physical and moral strength to ever try and make things happen. Try to share one's thoughts maybe? Spread the voice? Resignation is not exciting and can only elicit boring dreams. If you just want to dream, at least be grand in it. Or, keep a foot in the physical world and there's a chance that your dreams will drag you to something new, so when you awake and look around you might be inspired and ready for some action. Romantically melancholy, but pleasant in style and original in more
by Agnese Mariotti
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