The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Monday, March 24, 2014

This concise little gem is the story of A.J. Fikry, a widower and bookstore owner drinking himself into an early death until a little girl is mysteriously dropped off in his bookstore. She leads him into a new life just when he thought his life was ending. Told with references to short stories in every chapter, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin is a lovely little story about life's surprises.

I think concept books like this tend to triumph or fall flat -- there is rarely a middle ground. This one triumphs. We get snapshots of A.J.'s life, and the book is short, but the snapshots expose just enough to be illuminating. In addition, A.J. Fikry's life is bizarre enough to be interesting; normal enough to be believable.

The writing is beautiful and the book love is palpable. And you know how us bookish types love to read about other bookish types. I was actually unfamiliar with all of the short stories referenced in the book and am now going through them slowly, and slowly seeing how they further beautify the book. I know it would never happen with copyright laws, but it would be truly awesome to have a book that alternates the stories with the chapters.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a short, beautiful love letter to books and a tale of an extraordinary (and also ordinary) life. If you are a book lover or literary fiction fan, I think you will enjoy it.

4 stars

Warnings: Profanity, off-the-page sensuality

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...