“The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” Is a Loving Homage to Booksellers
Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a loving homage to booksellers everywhere and highlights why so many people find joy in reading. The novel follows A.J. Fikry, a bookstore owner who has recently lost his wife and whose storefront is in dire straights. To make matters worse, his rare collection of Poe poems has been stolen as well. In retaliation, Fikry isolates himself from the other people who live on Alice Island. As he sinks deeper into depression, even his beloved books hold no joy for him anymore. This all changes when he receives a mysterious package at his bookstore. Although small, the weight is rather large, which peeks Fikry’s curiosity and is an unexpected gift that allows him to start over.
Although Fikry’s a curmudgeon in the start of the novel, there’s a well-rounded cast of characters that readers can sink their teeth into as well. From the prickly Fikry to the kind-hearted cop Lambaise, the author shows off humanity in all our flawed glory. The end result is a feel-good ending that underlines the power of love and second chances. Zevin’s novel is wonderful nod to the power of transformation and, most important of all, books.