Staff Review: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

Gabrielle Zevin

Algonquin Books

$24.95

Available now

What a gem of a book! And how could a bookseller not be drawn into the sphere of cantankerous bookstore owner A.J. Fikry, who measures his life against his favorite books and short stories? Grieving for his wife, who recently died in a car accident, A.J. retreats to his apartment above the bookstore and spends his evenings in an alcoholic haze–until the arrival of 2-year-old Maya who has been abandoned in his bookstore.

In a very uncharacteristic move, A.J. takes Maya into his home, first under foster care, eventually adopting her. The mothers in the tight-knit Alice Island community (where A.J. lives and sells books) take it upon themselves to look in on Maya to ensure she is being cared for properly. At the same time, A.J. has found himself attracted to Amelia Loman, a sales rep for Knightley Press. He has also reached out to Alice Island chief of police Lambiase not only in searching for Maya’s mother but in an investigation into the theft of A.J.’s valuable copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s Tamerlane.

A.J. slowly emerges from his misery, and thus draws the island community into his bookstore: the mothers begin discussing–and purchasing–books, the police chief starts his own crime book group, and Amelia makes more frequent sales calls to Island Books. Although this book goes to the heart of what we, as booksellers, do each day, it also deals with the universal themes of loss, redemption, love and the healing power of community. As the sign above A.J. Fikry’s Island Books proclaims: “No Man Is An Island, Every Book Is A World.”

~ Mary Fran

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One thought on “Staff Review: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

  1. Lysbeth Abrams says:

    This is a wonderful book! All of the staff here at Eight Cousins have fallen in love with this novel!

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