The Bookshop

The Bookshop

Book - 1997
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In 1959 Florence Green, a kindhearted widow with a small inheritance, risks everything to open a bookshop - the only bookshop - in the seaside town of Hardborough. By making a success of a business so impractical, she invites the hostility of the town's less prosperous shopkeepers. By daring to enlarge her neighbors' lives, she crosses Mrs. Gamart, the local arts doyenne. Florence's warehouse leaks, her cellar seeps, and the shop is apparently haunted. Only too late does she begin to suspect the truth: a town that lacks a bookshop isn't always a town that wants one.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9780395869468
Branch Call Number: FITZ
Characteristics: 123p. 20cm.


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Sep 16, 2018

I liked Florence a lot. I like the perseverance, storyline and British village. Lovely writing.
However, the villagers, even some who should've had her back, saddened this story for me; how they succeeded in their nastiness. I guess not every story can have a happy ending but I so hoped this one would.

Sep 02, 2018

I struggled with the question of where to shelve this one. On the surface, designating it as humor would seem obvious because i found myself laughing uproariously so many times. And it's not really "about books" in the usual sense despite a bookshop being the title and setting. In the end, I was reminded of Paliaccio, collapsing in tears of grief and frustration while putting on his clown face and costume, commanding himself to laugh. Under all that veneer of hilarity and outright nonsense, this is a very dark little tale.
Fitzgerald was an enormously gifted writer, able to draw startlingly crisp pictures of her characters in very few brilliantly chosen words -- and send them up mercilessly. She is at her best when focusing on marginalized people inhabiting the outer margins of society.
I've never seen the film based on this book; I wonder if it could have done the book justice?

Jul 19, 2018

When you leave a comment, please don't give away the ending. That spoils it for me, hence the term "spoiler".

Jul 07, 2016

Fitzgerald is able to create a detailed backdrop in character and setting for a story about a woman determined to open a bookstore in a small coastal English village. For anyone who has grown up in a small community, you can almost see the ending coming, as she alienates locals and is finally forced to give up her dream.

Apr 20, 2015

Writes about "unsettled characters who live on the edges... writers and people, who stood at an odd angle to the world". A lovely and quiet read. Time spent with a gentle and quietly persevering protagonist, and as suggested in the forward, an author of "integrity, austerity, understatement, brilliance and a laconic, wry sense of humor". A great discovery.

Mar 25, 2015

A gem of a book. A very simple story but so well-written it carries you along until the end. Leaves you wishing for more.

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 18, 2014

This is an early novel, her first to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Florence Green decides to open a bookstore in a small British town and this sets off a tussle in the community. The bits about her attempt to start a lending library ring true even today in a very different world. The author's stylishness, her settings, and her pleasurable lack of emphasis remind me of my old favourite, Barbara Pym.

booklady413 Jul 19, 2014

This book may be sparse page wise, but what it lacks in pages, it makes up for in characterization and themes. It revolves around a small English town in 1960. The main character, Florence Green, wants her book store to succeed in the worst way. However, the town has other plans. This is a very sweet, funny and engaging read about times past when e-books did not exist.

Jan 20, 2014

Although this book was nominated for the Booker Prize in 1978, it has not stood the test of time very well. At 123 pages, it is a spare story of a woman who is defeated in the end.

Oct 01, 2011

This novella is about a widow in 1950's small-town England who opens a bookshop, much to the dismay of some other townspeople. Some good character writing. (2004)


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