This is a great book for those who love books and the book industry. A.J. Fikry is a bookseller on a small island. He is a little grumpy but with good reason, having been widowed at a young age and struggling to keep his bookstore going. He is literary, but not as creative with the business as was his late wife. One day a precious package is left in Fikry’s store and a rare book is stolen. From there this short and (bitter) sweet story takes off.
I loved the setting for this book. Reading it shortly after doing a London “bookshop hop” with members of my book club, it felt like just one more stop on the tour. Every bookstore is unique in inventory and displays. Connecting books with people is a joy but it can also be tricky–an art, not a science. Reading enjoyment is powerful but it is also a very personal thing and may even change in one person over time. “Sometimes books don’t find us until the right time.”
I loved the quick and quirky dialogue and the light tone overall. Fikry as a character develops tremendously during the course of the novel, transformed by the unexpected twists and turns in his life, shaped by the choices he makes, and guided by his friends and loved ones. Many real book titles make appearances in this novel, which was also good fun. Every chapter starts with ‘shelf-talkers’ on short stories. However, the central book title The Late Bloomer (which I would have put on my reading list for sure) is fictionalized fiction! It may not have been as special to me as it was for Amelia and A.J. anyway, so perhaps it is better this way.