The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry (Hardcover)$24.95ISBN-13: 9781616203214
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Published: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 4/2014A. J. Fikery is a mess. His wife has died. He’s running the bookstore they ran together into the ground. He’s been rude to visiting book reps and to customers. He’s taken to sulking in the backroom by day, snarling when he has to come out and biding his time until nighttime and oblivion (courtesy of far too much red wine). Until, someone leaves a baby in the bookstore. And A.J. ends up a sudden, surrogate parent.
Why? Because the child’s mother left a note saying she WANTED her baby to grow up in the bookstore. And because by the time the social worker arrives, A. J. has discovered he wants the same thing. As does the toddler, Maya, who’s as happy among the book shelves as A.J. himself once was.
In light of his new role AJ, who’s been fatally rude to a new book rep. has to reassess his behavior—toward her and the rest of the world. Especially as Maya grows and acquires a widening circle of doting friends and admirers—a circle that includes said sales rep. She’s a bookish woman who takes to Maya and, yes, you guessed it, A.J. himself.
If all of this sounds a tad sentimental, it is, in a way. In a tickle-your-funny-bone, make you laugh-‘til-you-cry way. Because A.J.’s a cynic—about people, about books, about the business of books, about romance and about possibility—a cynic with a well-developed sense of irony and a wonderful literary sensibility. The result? In the hands of author Gabrielle Zevin what might have been sentimental is funny. Very funny. And, in the end, superbly satisfying.
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikery is fast-moving, and feisty in terms of the book business. You can only imagine how wonderfully this goes down with booksellers! In fact, for anyone who likes books, or better still, the business of books, it’s pure joy.
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