The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (review)

A.J. FikryIf you’ve ever worked in a bookstore (or wondered what kind of exotic creatures work in bookstores),  The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a good place to start. Our title character is the depressed, widowed owner of an indie bookstore on a little island off the coast of Massachusetts. He’s let his social circle and life shrink down to almost nothing. He has only his work and his books, one rare copy of Poe in particular. Don’t let the curmudgeonly facade keep you away, however. A.J. is caustically, terribly funny. He has warmth and a touching humanity that is awakened by an unusual package that’s left at his store. Have we seen echoes of this story elsewhere? Probably. Does it matter? Not at all. Author Gabrielle Zevin has created a wonderfully structured novel around superbly real characters who like books as much as the reader. Reading may be a solitary activity, but A.J.’s life and Zevin’s book ultimately demonstrate the simple truth that literature can unite us and enrich any life, storied or not.

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