The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

StoriedLifeThe Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel
Gabrielle Zevin
Kindle Edition $9.25, Amazon Hardcover $15.75
Available through Kindle Unlimited
Algonquin Books (April 1, 2014), 273 pages

As a former bookseller and one who appreciates the independent bookstore (even though I read Kindle books) I enjoyed much of the book.

A. J. Fikry owns a bookstore on a fictional resort island in New England. The kind that has summer visitors, but where it’s only the locals in the winter. He is widowed, bitter, unhappy, and unpleasant. Then a baby is mysteriously left in the bookstore, and the mother is soon thereafter found dead on the beach, having swum out to sea until exhausted. A.J. raises the baby and does a remarkably fine job of it. The first two-thirds of the novel is a story of love, patience, humor, and redemption.

Then there is Part II, the last third of the book. Was it written by an entirely different author? It almost seems like it. But no, all of the loose ends that were hanging at the end of Part I are nicely tied up by the end of the novel. Does it have a happy ending? That depends on your perspective. The author does bring things, at least loosely, full circle in the closing pages.

Am I glad that I read the book? Yes. Was I sad to leave the world created in this novel? No, I wasn’t. I was ready to get out of there.

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