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Old 01-15-2020, 07:57 AM   #5
issybird
o saeclum infacetum
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
I had quite high hopes but the book fell rather flat. For a story about a bookshop it struck me as very strange that no one in the story actually seemed to like books.
I agree that no one seemed to like books, but I thought that was telling. It was one of Florence's own failings; she wouldn't treat books as a commodity, nor was she able or willing to provide a curated selection of books both good and or appeal. It was telling that her root stock were shop worn books from another failed store, and one that had been successful in its day.

Quote:
Several times while reading this it felt to me like I was reading someone's outline for the story, as if the expositions were just place holders for scenes yet to be written. Scenes that may, we imagine hopefully, have had us feel something for the characters, or that may have breathed some life to the Suffolk setting.
I thought the economy of its prose was stunning. So many pithy and evocative sentences and characterizations! I could have bookmarked virtually every page.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookpossum View Post
I did wonder while I was reading it, how other members of the club would react to it. I enjoyed it very much. In many ways it seems a slight book - it's short, and not much happens in it.

Its delicacy reminded me of a spider web, and of course Violet Gamart was the spider lurking. Florence Green became the hapless fly caught in the Gamart web of intrigue and manipulation.
Yes, I liked it for the same reason. I like your imagery. However, I think Florence also was the agent of her own failing in many respects. The banker wasn't entirely wrong; the bookshop was a high concept for her, not a nuts and bolts business.

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It was the first book I have read by Penelope Fitzgerald, and it certainly left me wanting to read more by her.
I've read a couple of her other novels; what I'd forgotten until I read the introduction is that she was a member of the famous Knox family (daughter/niece) and that she wrote a very interesting biography of them I enjoyed as well. Much there for various interests - literary, cryptographical, religious!
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