A Novel Bookstore

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A Novel Bookstore

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The founding of a unique Paris bookstore triggers jealousies and threats in Cossé's intriguing follow-up to The Corner of the Veil (1999). Former comic-book seller Ivan "Van" Georg and stylish Francesca Aldo-Valbelli team to establish the Good Novel, a bookshop that will stock only masterpieces in fiction, which are selected by a secret committee of writers. At first, the warm welcome of the bookstore results in soaring sales. Then attacks in the press, the opening of rival bookstores, and attempts against the lives of committee members by persons unknown sour the atmosphere for the Good Novel's community of readers and writers. Cossé poignantly depicts characters who have turned to literature for solace against the pain in their lives, creates ongoing speculation as to the shadowy first-person narrator, and furnishes sly commentary about gatekeeping in the literary world. Though purists may be disappointed with the solution to the mystery, there's plenty of food for thought. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Heiress Francesca and bookseller Ivan don't expect to make a profit when they open a bookstore in Paris that sells nothing but the best fiction. The store's unexpected success produces a powerful backlash: an outcry from pundits, negative ad campaigns, targeted competition, and threats that escalate to physical violence. When members of the store's secret inventory selection committee are attacked, barely escaping with their lives, it becomes imperative for the owners to find out who is behind the intimidation. With this work, French novelist Cossé (A Corner of the Veil) gives readers a truly literary thriller. Eminently readable, it is a love letter to the novel (literature junkies will find within its pages a seemingly endless supply of book suggestions) and a profound exploration of human nature. VERDICT If the success of Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog, also translated by Andersen, is any indication, this work will be in high demand.—Karen Walton Morse, Univ. at Buffalo Libs.
Kirkus Reviews

When French author Cossé(A Corner of the Veil, 1999, etc.) pairs unlikely business partners in the opening of a unique Parisian bookstore, The Good Novel, that will sell only the best fiction, their venture succeeds and draws vehement criticism—and worse.

The selection process at The Good Novel, owned and backed by the lovely Aldo-Valbella Francesca and run by Ivan Georg, is rigorous. Members of a secret committee of writers and bibliophiles compile novels that they consider superior to the usual bestseller-list folderol. Their bookstore is a success. But almost immediately detractors publish diatribes accusing The Good Novel's proprietors and denizens of snobbery. Worse, someone is pasting these attacks up around town. When attempts are made against the lives of several members of the selection committee, Ivan and Francesca turn to the law in the person of a publishing-industry veteran turned cop, Gonzague Heffner, to determine how it is that seemingly coordinated thugs have learned the meticulously concealed identities of committee members. Is there a centralized plot by publishing interests to overthrow the upstart store, or are these the isolated jabs of irate inferior writers who take issue with the store's exclusive policies? As the investigation unfolds, rival bookstores open, initially strong sales falter, and it becomes clear that the attacks are a reaction to the very concept of quality in literature. This mystery is however incidental to larger themes of what superlative work in the literary sphere constitutes. Not without its surprises,the book doesn't quite live up to the high literary standards that its characters apply. While the central mystery stalls and dissipates without satisfactory resolution, the central conceit—what place is there for great and often difficult literature in a mercenary world—is manifest in the plight of the store and the disruptive influence it has on critics and booksellers the world over. The book's real strength is its romances—of both the bookish and human varieties. In attention to matters of the heart the story is redeemed, delivering a touché where its original thrust misses the mark.

A literary idyll preselected for bookworms and bibliophiles.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933372822
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/31/2010
  • Pages: 424
  • Sales rank: 628,278
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2010

    Most definitely not a good novel. Would certainly not be included in the bookstore of the tltle.

    I assume this is meant to be a satire, and as such it is funny in parts. The problem is, for a book that is satirizing good literature, it's not well written. Perhaps some of the problem lies with the translation, but the plot is heavy-handed and clumsy, which certainly is not the translator's responsibility.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great Idea but Poorly Expressed

    If you can get past the long sentences, and I do mean long (sentence on page 119 is 109 words long with 9 commas) and the extremely weird writing in some places, the book isn't all that bad. It is a good story and the characters are interesting enough but the writing presents a hurdle that is tough to overcome. I think the author took herself too seriously and tried to be TOO LITERARY. I almost put this book down several times but kept reading because I hate to give up on any book. I bought it because it was one of the books recommended by B&N.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    highly recommended

    Smart and compelling, I fell in love with Ivan and Francesca before I knew it. It ranks right up there with The Elegance of A Hedgehog. This book is not for every reader . . . but it is well written and mysterious, so one must be a patient reader!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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