Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Good Novel

Europa Editions, the publisher that brought us The Elegance of the Hedgehog, has published another gem by French author Laurence Cosse, A Novel Bookstore. Ivan and Francesca have opened a unique bookstore called The Good Novel. The Good Novel only stocks good novels. Observe:

"And the more people asked him, Is this good? the bolder he became, going from a hesitant Mmmyeah to an openly disparaging, Not bad, then soon to a frank, Good? It is downright awful. Very quickly the idea of selling books that he himself would not advise people to read infuriated him. By July, when the store opened again for the summer, Ivan had resolved the contradiction. All that remained in his little shop were those books which enchanted him. Van would open the boxfuls of books sent automatically every week by the major publishers, and as soon as he had unpacked them and had a look through, nine times out of ten he put everything back in the box and returned it." [Can you imagine? I need a job at this place!]

But when members of The Good Novel's secret selection committee are suddenly terrorized by thugs, mystery and mayhem ensue. This is another wonderful, subtle French novel, filled with intriguing characters and sly humor.

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