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The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald at Abbey's Bookshop,

The Bookshop

Penelope Fitzgerald David Nicholls


9780006543541

Flamingo


Fiction & Literature;
Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)


Paperback

176 pages

$19.99
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Shortlisted for the Booker Prize.In a small East Anglian town, Florence Green decides, against polite but ruthless local opposition, to open a bookshop. Hardborough becomes a battleground. Florence has tried to change the way things have always been done, and as a result, she has to take on not only the people who have made themselves important, but natural and even supernatural forces too. Her fate will strike a chord with anyone who knows that life has treated them with less than justice.

By:   Penelope Fitzgerald
Introduction by:   David Nicholls
Imprint:   Flamingo
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   New edition
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 11mm
Weight:   130g
ISBN:   9780006543541
ISBN 10:   0006543545
Pages:   176
Publication Date:   October 2002
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Penelope Fitzgerald was the author of nine novels, three of which - The Bookshop, The Beginning of Spring and The Gate of Angels - were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She won the prize in 1979 for Offshore. A superb biographer and critic, she was also the author of lives of the artist Edward Burne-Jones, the poet Charlotte Mew and The Knox Brothers, a study of her remarkable family. She died in April 2000.


On the heels of The Blue Flower (1997), hem's a slighter, equally charming, half as deep little novel - about snobbery and meanness in the provinces - that the immensely gifted Fitzgerald published in England in 1978. It's 1959, and the small, wispy and wiry Florence Green, a widow and middle-aged, wants to open a bookshop in the little, bleak, remote, sea-swept East Anglian town of Hardborough. And so she borrows money to buy her stock and, as a place to house both it and herself, the High Street building known as Old House, over half a millennium old and faultless except for being damp and haunted. But as Mr. Raven, the marshman, says, Florence don't frighten, which is why he has her hold onto a horse's tongue while he files its teeth. What Florence hasn't counted on, though, is the studied malevolence of Hardborough's social illuminary and civic leader, Mrs. Gamart, who now says she wanted Old House for an arts centre. And things, indeed, start going wrong for Florence - not from the real ghost, who seems frightening but harmless, but from inexplicable changes in statute, policy, and law. When Florence is tipped off by a slippery ex-BBC employee that she ought to stock Lolita, she questions only whether it's a good book - and so she asks the town's one true aristocrat, the dour Edmund Brundish, veteran of WW I. He says it's good (though he dies soon after), but Florence's troubles still grow only worse, both before and after Nabokov sells out. Readers will learn the sorry end, while enjoying on the way a wondrous cast of townsfolk, including Florence's assistant, the sweetly tough Christine Gipping, who, at 11, as Florence says, has the ability to classify, and that can't be taught, though she does make an error (true human style) that costs dear. Pitch-perfect in every tone, note, and detail: unflinching, humane, and wonderful. (Kirkus Reviews)

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