The Bookshop

The first few chapters of The Bookshop were a reread for me, as I had been unable to finish it over the summer, and overall this book flew by at a mere 121 pages. Penelope Fitzgerald makes every word and scene count, though.

The novel, only her second, is set in an English coastal village in 1959. Florence Green is engaging character, simplistic but courageous in her determination to open a bookshop in the abandoned Old House of the aptly named Hardborough, where she has lived alone for ten years. The venture leads to encounters both good and bad with her neighbors, memorable people in their own right.

I loved the grit of little Christine Gipping, who helps in the shop after school, and the “rapper,” a poltergeist who haunts the house. I’m also now curious about Lolita, which she is torn about stocking. I won’t give away the ending, but it really had me all worked up.

I’m often conflicted about whether I like things for their merit or for their reputation, but I really believe that for Penelope Fitzgerald’s books, it’s both.

Published in: on January 6, 2009 at 9:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

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