Saturday, September 04, 2010

A Novel Bookstore

I have a confession to make. I rarely love any of the books I'm assigned to review for Library Journal. I expect that's partly due to the nature of the books they send me. It seems like my niche is literary fiction in translation with an emphasis on Scandinavian and German-language authors. I don't get light, fluffy, fun reads, I get hard-core literary stuff that is sometimes hard to get through. That's not to say that the books aren't accomplished, just that reading them often feels more like work than pleasure.

Earlier this week a novel I reviewed for Library Journal and really enjoyed was published.

A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé

Heiress Francesca and bookseller Ivan don't expect to make a profit when they open a bookstore in Paris that sells nothing but the best fiction. The store's unexpected success produces a powerful backlash: outcry from pundits, negative ad campaigns, targeted competition, and threats that escalate to physical violence. When members of the store's secret inventory selection committee are attacked, barely escaping with their lives, it becomes imperative for the owners to find out who is behind the intimidation.

With A Novel Bookstore, French novelist Cossé gives readers a truly literary thriller. Eminently readable, A Novel Bookstore is a love letter to the novel (literature junkies will find within its pages a seemingly endless supply of book suggestions) and a profound exploration of human nature.

On a side note, I love what translator Alison Andersen [by the way, she was the translator of The Elegance of the Hedgehog (see post)] did with the novel's title. In French the title is "Au bon roman" ([place] of good novels), while the English title drops the good modifier, it plays very successfully on the double meaning of the word novel.

See full review at Library Journal.

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