Sometimes, we fail through no fault of our own. We try something and it doesn’t go as planned. It may be the overall economic environment, or local conditions. Or it could be that the enterprise is undermined by someone with money and connections whose plans are contrary to our own.
This is the aspect of our common condition explored in the delightful little novel, The Bookshop, written by Penelope Fitzgerald, a British lady who first published, I believe, at the age of 60 and went on to win several awards for her short books, including the prestigious Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
I happened across this gem at Costco, where I was loitering after the purchase of three forty-two pound bags of kitty litter and pondering the wisdom of trying a $7.99 bottle of Kirkland Bordeaux with a beautiful black label. I got the book instead. It was more pleasant that I reasonably could have expected with the Bordeaux.
It’s about a lady who opens a book store in a damp old haunted house in a small town on the coast of England, a place that hasn’t had a bookshop before.
I offer here some nearly random free samples, which you won’t get with the Bordeaux, although, there were some tiny sausages being cooked up and offered for tasting in another part of the store. Our lady referred to below is a Ms. Florence Green.
She drank some of the champagne, and the smaller worries of the day seemed to stream upwards as tiny pinpricks through the golden mouthfuls and to break harmlessly and vanish. (20)
Will power is useless without a sense of direction. (37)
Back in the shadows went the Stickers, largely philosophy and poetry, which she had little hope of ever seeing the last of. (43)
He might be grievously disappointed, possibly after a lifetime of disappointments. (92)
“Understanding makes the mind lazy.” (101)
She looked with shame at the rows of patiently waiting unsold books. “You’re working too hard, Florence,” Milo said.
“I try to concentrate—Put those down, they’ve only just come in and I haven’t checked them. Surely you have to succeed, if you give everything you’ve got.”
“I can’t see why. Everyone has to give everything they have eventually. They have to die. Dying can’t be called a success.” (133)
For the book, CLICK HERE. And enjoy. Cheers.