A Novel Bookstore - Laurence Cosse

A Novel Bookstore - Laurence Cosse

A Novel Bookstore is a rather lovely story about a Parisian bookshop (the novel was originally written in French) that sells only great novels, chosen by an anonymous panel of authors. It sounds like the best thing ever, but there are plenty who hate the bookshop, and soon the owners and authors are targeted.

 

I gobbled this book up. This was probably partly because it was just such a welcome change from The Divine Comedy and other such Worthy Books. But it's also because, well, this is a novel about a bookshop. A novel about a bookshop, and a story about the power and importance of books. That story is touching and a little terrifying: it reminded me slightly of Lemony Snicket in its paranoid weirdness (MYSTERIOUS PEOPLE in a CONSPIRACY against a BOOKSHOP!), with a touch of The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency for the methodical and human-centred way the investigation into the attacks on the authors proceeds.

 

There are flaws. The dialogue occasionally feels wooden and forced, but this may be a translation issue. Mainly, I was unimpressed by the ending, not for anything that happened so much as for the fact that it just...petered out. It just stopped, on a note that, while not exactly defeatist, is far from the triumph of some of the central parts of the book.

 

Of course, that may be the point.

 

In any case, A Novel Bookstore is undoubtedly a good book that any bookworm will enjoy. Perhaps it is even a great book.