Thumbs up for The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. Literature.
An enjoyable book, but a little schizophrenic. It starts off as a hilarious (to booksellers, anyway) send-up of cantankerous booksellers and the publishing industry. Then it gets a plot – as books must – and, as often happens, once it gets a plot it stops being hilarious. This doesn’t mean it’s not great light reading – I whipped through it in an evening. You just have to be aware that the beginning does not match the end. Recommended if you have ever worked in the book industry or are just a total book nerd.
“Like,” he repeats with distaste. “How about I tell you what I don’t like? I do not like postmodernism, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn’t be – basically, gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the Holocaust or any other major world tragedy to be distasteful – nonfiction only, please. I do not like genre mash-ups à la the literary detective novel or the literary fantasy. Literary should be literary, and genre should be genre, and crossbreeding rarely results in anything satisfying. I do not like children’s books, especially ones with orphans, and I prefer not to clutter my shelves with young adult. I do not like anything over four hundred pages or under one hundred fifty pages. I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and – I imagine this goes without saying – vampires. I rarely stock debuts, chick lit, poetry, or translations. I would prefer not to stock series, but the demands of my pocketbook require me to. For your part, you needn’t tell me about the ‘next big series’ until it is ensconced on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Above all, Ms. Loman, I find slim literary memoirs about little old men whose little old wives have died from cancer to be absolutely intolerable. No matter how well-written the sales rep claims they are. No matter how many copies you promise I’ll sell on Mother’s Day.”
If you enjoyed this post, please share it!