15 May, 2014

The Collected Works of A.J.Fikry by Gabrielle Levin (Biddy, Highland Park)

The author, Gabrielle Levin, "was raised by parents who took her to the library like it was church". So says the blurb of this delightful novel that had me smiling from the first page to the last.

Maya, aged two, is abandoned by her desperate mother, on the floor of Island Books, the only bookshop on Alice Island. The owner, A.J.Fikry, is less than delighted to find her - she appears to him to be yet another trial to overcome in his life. He has recently lost his wife tragically in a car accident, book sales have reached an all-time low and his most prized possession, a rare book, has been stolen.

Despite himself, A.J. finds his life changing for the better with Maya's arrival being the catalyst that starts a chain of events guaranteed to enchant and amuse the reader. The tale Levin weaves is heart-warming and, at times, poignant. Her characters are eccentric but lovable and, for anyone who read-and loved-"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society" or "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry", this book is a must-read. It's a book that I will certainly read again and one to own and dip into for Levin's charming writing style and A.J.Fikry's life wisdom e.g.:  "People tell boring lies about politics, God and love. You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question: What is your favourite book?"

Author: Gabrielle Levin
Publisher: Little, Brown, London
Date: 2014
ISBN: 9781408704622

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