The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel

By Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher:Algonquin Books, (4/1/2014)

Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.50 out of 5 (2 Clubie's ratings)

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We are not quite novels.
We are not quite short stories.
In the end, we are collected works.

A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island--from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, though large in weight--an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming.

As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.

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Ceci's thoughts on "The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel"
updated on:5/31/2014

I should hate this book. It’s sentimental, trite, and predictable. Curmudgeon with a heart of gold? Check. Will this curmudgeon’s golden heart be revealed to the world? Naturally. Will this reveal be abundant with clichés? Indeed. But from start to finish, clichés and all, I loved it. I was in fact a crying mess by the end. I am a huge cynic (see: “I should hate this book”), so kudos to Zevin for expertly hitting all the marks and yanking my rusty heartstrings. There is no guilt in this pleasurable read.

Very Unleashable

Book Junky's thoughts on "The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel"
updated on:5/31/2014

This is the perfect summer read! It is one of those super fast reads that is just enjoyable from start to finish. There are plenty of fun and interesting things to discuss, but it is not like a “contemplate the seriousness of whatever serious act has happened” kind of book club discussion book. Serious acts happen in the book, but even death et. al. feels natural and light somehow. This is more a “ah, didn’t you love when (fill in the blank) happened?” Even better, we get to indulge all of our secret fantasies through the main character - we get to own a book store in a small town for a bit, we get to have miraculous events happily change the course of our lives, we get to have wonderful supportive friends come into our lives at the perfect times, we get to fall in love, ah… it just makes all those serious moments in between so much more passable. Life does go on after tragedy. Life can take new and amazing twists. And this is a fun book to twist with. Enjoy!


"The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel"
By Gabrielle Zevin

Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.50 out of 5 (2 Clubie's ratings)

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