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The Bookshop (1977)

by Penelope Fitzgerald

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,4721384,855 (3.52)332
In 1959 Florence Green, a kindhearted widow with a small inheritance, risks everything to open a bookshop - the only bookshop - in the seaside town of Hardborough. By making a success of a business so impractical, she invites the hostility of the town's less prosperous shopkeepers. By daring to enlarge her neighbors' lives, she crosses Mrs. Gamart, the local arts doyenne. Florence's warehouse leaks, her cellar seeps, and the shop is apparently haunted. Only too late does she begin to suspect the truth: a town that lacks a bookshop isn't always a town that wants one.… (more)
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    Petroglyph: Both of these books are gentle, mostly quiet novels about an outsider entering a small English town to see through an arts-related project. Their setting surpasses a pedestrian "look at these weird locals". Lots going on in the background if you look for it.… (more)
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    The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (suzanney)
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» See also 332 mentions

English (119)  Spanish (9)  Catalan (2)  German (2)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Latvian (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (136)
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
2.66 Book or movie? Read my full review here. ( )
  joyblue | Mar 28, 2022 |
Started to read this and realised I'd seen the movie with Emily Mortimer, and as much as I like her! it wasn't much of a movie, so I'm skipping the book - pretty harsh I know.

To make up for it I've put The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald on order from the library. ( )
  Okies | Mar 11, 2022 |
An odd little story. In a way nothing happens and yet, a woman arrives in a small village, opens a bookshop, is bothered by a poltergeist, has some moderate success and then all of a sudden it all goes belly up. ( )
  Fliss88 | Sep 28, 2021 |
An "old-fashioned" novel with quiet, gentle language and hard-hitting content. Will definately read more of this author. ( )
  SusanWallace | Jul 10, 2021 |
Why would anyone open a bookshop in a DAMP basement?

With this alternately pleasant, but ultimately boring and predictable, plot with few twists,
readers may end up feeling dreary. ( )
  m.belljackson | Jun 5, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fitzgerald, Penelopeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bustelo, AnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
D'Amico, Masolinosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kada, Júliasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krüger, ChristaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, HermioneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nicholls, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peters, DonadaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To an old friend
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In 1959 Florence Green occasionally passed a night when she was not absolutely sure whether she had slept or not.
"Now, Mrs Green, if you'd catch hold of the [horse's] tongue. I wouldn't ask everybody, but I know you don't frighten.' "How do you know?" she asked. "They're saying that you're about to open a bookshop. That shows you're ready to chance some unlikely things."
Quotations
"Shall we just have a look at the transactions?" she asked, clicking her silver Eversharp, and using the tone which brought her employer to heel.
She opened one or two of [the books she's arranging in a new bookshop] - old Everyman editions in faded olive boards stamped with gold. There was the elaborate endpaper which she had puzzled over when she was a little girl. "A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life."
She kept two of the Everymans, which had never been very good sellers. One was Ruskin's "Unto this Last", the other was Bunyan's "Grace Abounding". Each had its old bookmark in it, "Everyman I will be thy guide, in thy most need go by thy side".
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Wikipedia in English (1)

In 1959 Florence Green, a kindhearted widow with a small inheritance, risks everything to open a bookshop - the only bookshop - in the seaside town of Hardborough. By making a success of a business so impractical, she invites the hostility of the town's less prosperous shopkeepers. By daring to enlarge her neighbors' lives, she crosses Mrs. Gamart, the local arts doyenne. Florence's warehouse leaks, her cellar seeps, and the shop is apparently haunted. Only too late does she begin to suspect the truth: a town that lacks a bookshop isn't always a town that wants one.

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