cover image Confessions of a Curious Bookseller

Confessions of a Curious Bookseller

Elizabeth Green. Lake Union, $14.95 trade paper (488p) ISBN 978-1-5420-2585-0

Green’s entertaining epistolary debut centers on 50-something Fawn Birchill and her declining Philadelphia bookstore. Fawn becomes indignant when customers post negative reviews of the Curious Cat Book Emporium on the internet and takes to leaving good reviews under an alias. After she “closes the book” on a nascent relationship with a librarian—over email—Fawn praises herself with her reviewer alias in hopes of attracting a new man. Meanwhile, a new bookstore has opened down the street and her competitor, Mark Nilsen, extends an invitation to meet, which Fawn rebuffs with a string of passive aggressive barbs, launching a long-running exchange consisting of Fawn’s petty complaints followed by Mark’s unflappably professional replies. Meanwhile, Fawn avoids visiting her father in hospice care and fills her time drinking wine and writing emails to a pen pal, in which she makes up stories about world travels. As she endures tanking sales, Fawn loses the ability to be honest with anyone, including her staff. While some of the email exchanges go on far too long, the format allows for poignant and amusing insights into the protagonist, whose cringe-inducing emotional needs and officiousness drive the story. This whimsical tale delivers the goods. Agent: Elizabeth Copps, Maria Carvainis Agency. (Jan.)