As I’ve already said, I read mostly non-fiction. But now and then I stumble onto some piece of fiction that I read, say, on a plane trip. Not all such things are memorable, but will now and then note something here that I’ve particularly enjoyed.
Nina George. The Little Paris Bookshop. New York: Broadway Books, 2013 (translation 2015).
Obviously, the title of this caught my eye, so I took it with me on a trip. It was full of surprises, and was soon quite engaging. The bookshop in question was a boat on the Seine, and the proprietor was an odd fellow who was a “literary apothecary.” He would size up a patron, and recommend books that he felt would help them. He has a letter from a love that he has not opened, fearing it’s content. But he decides to sail to Provence in search of an answer. An author friend hops on board the boat as it’s leaving, and they share an interesting journey, somewhat limited by their absence of money or credit cards. The trip, and the final destination, are both full of twists and turns. It’s an engaging story.
Jason Lutes. Berlin. Dawn & Quarterly, 2018.
This engaging graphic novel is set in the Berlin of the late 2=1920s. As historical fiction, it intermingles the stories of a number of key characters with the real events of the fall of the Weimar Republic and the rise of the Nazis. It’s a tumultuous time, with rising tensions as the Communist Party tries to gain a foothold, anti-semitic actions are rising, and individuals struggle with the economic crisis triggered by the global depression. Individual characters struggle with their own issues as they try to sort out their lives amidst the swirl of events. The graphic format lends itself well to this narrative, and the imagery is an ideal way to intermingle events with personal narratives. The story flows so well that one is surprised to find it ending after 549 gripping pages.