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The Librarianist

Patrick deWitt

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04 June 2024
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*Selected as a Washington Post Book of the Summer
* 'I absolutely adored it' NINA STIBBE

From bestselling and award-winning author Patrick deWitt comes a novel about an ordinary man who thought life’s surprises were behind him – until a chance encounter changed everything

Bob Comet is a retired librarian passing his solitary days surrounded by books in a mint-colored house in Portland, Oregon. One morning on his daily walk he encounters a confused elderly woman lost in a market and returns her to the senior centre that is her home. Hoping to fill the void he’s known since retiring, Bob begins volunteering at the center. Here, as a community of strange peers gathers around Bob, and following a brush with a painful complication from his past, the events of his life and the details of his character are revealed.

Behind Bob Comet’s straight man facade is the story of an unhappy child’s runaway adventure during the last days of the Second World War, of true love won and stolen away, of the purpose and pride found in the librarian’s vocation, and the pleasures of a life lived to the side of the masses.
Imprint:   Bloomsbury
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm, 
ISBN:   9781526646927
ISBN 10:   1526646927
Pages:   352
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Patrick deWitt is the author of The Sisters Brothers, which won the Governor General’s Award and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Walter Scott Prize, and was adapted for a film starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Joaquin Phoenix and Riz Ahmed.. He also is the author of Ablutions, which was a New York Times Editor's Choice, Undermajordomo Minor, and French Exit, which was adapted for a film starring Michelle Pfeiffer and shortlisted for the Giller Prize. Born in British Columbia, Canada, deWitt now resides in Portland, Oregon.

Reviews for The Librarianist

I absolutely adored it. I loved Bob - his position over to the side of charisma and horribleness, out of the game, his notions and his demeanour ... This beautiful book took me far away from all my concerns. It’s so wonderful, soothing and heartbreaking -- Nina Stibbe Tidily crafted and pleasantly life-affirming * Irish Times * A lovely curio of a novel * Spectator * This whimsical novel from former Booker Prize finalist deWitt is a delight * Mail on Sunday * Full of subtle reflections on contemporary life and has a deceptively biting humour * * Memorable characters and a strain of burlesque comedy swirl through this story spanning the life of a retired librarian ... deWitt takes us on a waltzer of a ride, twisting through Bob’s life * Financial Times * deWitt is one of the great literary ventriloquists, producing funny, quirky, richly imagined novels shaped each time by a wildly different narrative voice * Daily Mail * A poignant character study ... deWitt’s writing and endearing characters create a memorable world * Los Angeles Times * Light, bright, beguiling, a quirky delight ... DeWitt’s great gift lies in his ability to depict the Everyman in extremis – heroism hidden in plain sight * Telegraph * “I found the whole reading experience utterly charming … The dialogue is fresh and characters come alive immediately on the page ... There’s simply an energy to deWitt’s books that make them pleasurable to spend time with, and that’s all on display in The Librarianist * Chicago Tribune * One of his best * New European * Wildly imaginative, genre-defying * Washington Post, Books of the Summer 2023 * This engrossing fictional portrait of a retired librarian volunteering at an old folks home unspools its main character’s life - betrayals, loss, triumphs - with humor and tenderness * Vanity Fair * That Patrick deWitt has pulled off this deceptively risky style of narrative is proof of his considerable skills as an author * The Lady * A touching, affectionate novel, showing … that engagement in old age is a courageous act to be applauded * Big Issue * The great chronicler of American weirdos is back with his warmest novel yet ... No one writes loopier, funnier dialogue * Slate * A character study of almost defiant gentleness * The Times * Gripping, random, and totally alive ... Readers come to deWitt for his brand of slightly off-kilter storytelling blessed with exuberant characterizations, gleeful dialogue, and a proprietary blend of darkness and charm, all strung up in lights here * Booklist * An old man’s routines are interrupted by a woman in pink in this wistful fable … A quietly effective and moving character study * Kirkus (starred review) * deWitt imbues the people he meets with color and quirks, leaving a trail of sparks ... This one gradually takes hold until it won’t let go * Publishers Weekly * Praise for French Exit: 'Made me so happy ... Brilliant, addictive, funny and wise -- Andrew Sean Greer, author of Less My favourite book of his yet -- Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette Pure joy * Mail on Sunday * Buoyantly insane * New Yorker * Dazzling . deWitt writes in a gorgeously relaxed, freeform style, dabbing a clause here, a phrase there. The book is studded with tiny pleasures . Sharp and strange . DeWitt's particular comic genius is to evoke the darkness behind the dazzle ... Whichever style he adopts or genre he inhabits, deWitt remains a true original * Guardian *

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