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The Bookshop [Film Tie-In Edition] Paperback – 18 May 2018
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- Paperback : 176 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0008263027
- ISBN-13 : 978-0008263027
- Publisher : 4th Estate - GB; Film tie-in edition (18 May 2018)
- Dimensions : 12.9 x 1.12 x 19.8 cm
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: 92,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
‘Reading a Penelope Fitzgerald novel is like being taken for a ride in a peculiar kind of car. Everything is of top quality – the engine, the coachwork and the interior all fill you with confidence. Then, after a mile or so, someone throws the steering-wheel out of the window.’ Sebastian Faulks
‘Wise and ironic, funny and humane, Fitzgerald is a wonderful, wonderful writer.’ David Nicholls
‘Its stylishness, and this low-voiced lack of emphasis are a pleasure throughout, its moral and human positions invariably sympathetic. But it is astringent too: no self-pity in its self-effacing heroine, who in a world of let-downs and put-downs and poltergeists, keeps her spirit bright and her book-stock miraculously dry in the damp, seeping East Anglian landscape.’ Isabel Quigley, Financial Times
‘Penelope Fitzgerald’s resources of odd people are impressively rich. Raven, the marshman, who ropes Florence in to hang on to an old horse’s tongue while he files the teeth; old Brundish, secretive as a badger, slow as a gorse bush. And this is not just a gallery of quirky still lives; these people appear in vignettes, wryly, even comically animated…On any reckoning, a marvellously piercing fiction.’ Valentine Cunningham, TLS
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In the end the local lady uses a sledgehammer to crack a nut. The venture would probably fail without any help.
I'm glad they will make this a movie as they might bring out the themes that Penelope allows to wither in this fairly short tale.
She makes some good sketches of village life in a bleak part of the English coast. Oh that it was longer to enjoy these.
The old house is apparently haunted by a poltergeist rapper. What this adds to the story is debatable. The young 11 year old girl who comes to help is a parable for the whole story. Although bright she does not succeed while in the town but starts to blossom after being given a chance but only after leaving. Florence is not given this opportunity and just disappears into nothing with nothing.
A sketch that could be turned into a great story but wasn't. But worth reading
Hardborough, a small coastal town in East Anglia, is the setting for this novel.
‘The town itself was an island between sea and river, muttering and drawing into itself as soon as it felt the cold. Every fifty years or so it had lost, as though careless or indifferent to such things, another means of communication.’
An isolated town besieged by the elements. A town without a bookshop. Florence Green approaches Mr Keble, the bank manager, for a loan. She wants to buy the Old House, which has its own warehouse. Eventually, the loan is approved, and Mrs Green sets to work.
But not everyone wants the Old House to become a bookshop. There is a well-defined social hierarchy in Hardborough, and Mrs Green has unwittingly trodden on the toes of Mrs Violet Gamart. Mrs Gamart marshals her own forces to undermine Mrs Green: it is spiteful, petty, and effective. Mrs Green has her own supporters, but they are rendered powerless. So, despite establishing a lending library, having the support of Mr Brundish, and having help from ten-year-old Christine Gipping, Mrs Green’s bookshop fails. There is a whisper of supernatural forces being involved as well.
While I agree with Mrs Green’s note to Mr Thornton, solicitor, obviously others do not:
‘A good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life, and as such it must surely be a necessary commodity.’
The more I read, the sadder I became. How can a town not want a bookshop? Why is Mrs Gamart so vindictive? This is a short novel which left me wondering about people and their motives, and the impact that surroundings can have on what is accepted. How could the outcome have been different?
‘As the train drew out of the station she sat with her head bowed in shame, because the town in which she had lived for nearly ten years had not wanted a bookshop.’
In this short novel, Ms Fitzgerald conveys the best and the worst of small-town machinations. A mirror on society and an uncomfortable read.
Quirky and probably not everyone's cup of tea.
It is a quirky and sometimes sad story of a lady who opens a bookshop in a village in Suffolk during the 1950's.
A short yet enjoyable read.