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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry



November 11, 2014

“And you’d thank everyone for coming. We all raise a glass to Maya.
Everyone goes home happy.”
“So it’s basically a book party.”
“Yeah, sure.” 
Lambiase has never been to a book party.
“I hate book parties,” A.J. says. 
“But you run a bookstore,” Lambiase says.
“It’s a problem,” A.J. admits.

from The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Book parties aren’t the only thing A.J. Fikry hates. He is not fond of book blurbs, summer people, ghostwriters, children’s books (or children, for that matter), celebrity picturebooks, “…’postmodernisms, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism … and… this goes without saying, vampires’”. He does not like how much he drinks (that is, too much), or the frozen Vindaloo entrees and the loneliness that accompany them. And since his wife died, he has hated the work of being what he is, a bookseller on a small New England island.

Despite his closely held list of professed dislikes, Gabrielle Zevin’s A.J. Fikry may be one of the most likable characters published in 2014. Because, as The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry unfolds, A.J. discovers that his ever-growing list of likes and loves is a much better one to live by. Vampires, he learns, can be watched in large doses on television without any ill effects and children are not so bad after all—nor are the books that go with them.