The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

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Short-listed for the Booker Prize

“A beautiful book, a perfect little gem.” — BBC Kaleidoscope

“A marvelously piercing fiction.” — Times Literary Supplement

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.

This new edition features an introduction by David Nicholls, author of One Day, along with new cover art.

About Penelope Fitzgerald

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Penelope Fitzgerald wrote many books small in size but enormous in popular and critical acclaim over the past two decades. Over 300,000 copies of her novels are in print, and profiles of her life appeared in both The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine. In 1979, her novel OFFSHORE won Britain's Booker Prize, and in 1998 she won the National Book Critics Circle Prize for THE BLUE FLOWER. Though Fitzgerald embarked on her literary career when she was in her 60's, her career was praised as "the best argument.. for a publishing debut made late in life" (New York Times Book Review). She told the New York Times Magazine, "In all that time, I could have written books and I didn't. I think you can write at any time of your life." Dinitia Smith, in her New York Times Obituary of May 3, 2000, quoted Penelope Fitzgerald from 1998 as saying, "I have remained true to my deepest convictions, I mean to the courage of those who are born to be defeated, the weaknesses of the strong, and the tragedy of misunderstandings and missed opportunities, which I have done my best to treat as comedy, for otherwise how can we manage to bear it?"
Published September 15, 1997 by Mariner Books. 163 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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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) ...

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Publishers Weekly

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Its premise is straightforward: in 1959, Florence Green--""small, wispy and wiry, somewhat insignificant from the front view, and totally so from the back""--decides to use the small legacy left by her late husband to buy the Old House and start a bookshop in the tiny Suffolk town of Hardborough-...

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He liked mysteries, and so, to amuse him, as she wrote that first biography, Fitzgerald also wrote her first novel, The Golden Child, a mystery novel.

Nov 06 2014 | Read Full Review of The Bookshop

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In reply to Florence’s protests – “We have lectures already …The Vicar’s series on Picturesque Suffolk … comes round again every three years” - Mrs Gamart explains that the town needs “to be a good deal more ambitious”, withdrawing from Florence then, “with encouraging nods and gestures, into h...

Sep 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Bookshop

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