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The Bookshop | [Penelope Fitzgerald]

The Bookshop

In 1959 Florence Green, a kindhearted widow with a small inheritance, risks everything to open a bookshop, the only bookshop, in the seaside town of Hardborough. By making a success of a business so impractical, she invites the hostility of the town's less prosperous shopkeepers. By daring to enlarge her neighbors' lives, she crosses Mrs. Gamart, the local arts doyenne. Florence's warehouse leaks, her cellar seeps, and the shop is apparently haunted.
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Publisher's Summary

In 1959 Florence Green, a kindhearted widow with a small inheritance, risks everything to open a bookshop, the only bookshop, in the seaside town of Hardborough. By making a success of a business so impractical, she invites the hostility of the town's less prosperous shopkeepers. By daring to enlarge her neighbors' lives, she crosses Mrs. Gamart, the local arts doyenne. Florence's warehouse leaks, her cellar seeps, and the shop is apparently haunted. Only too late does she begin to suspect the truth: a town that lacks a bookshop isn't always a town that wants one.

©1978 Penelope Fitzgerald; (P)2001 Houghton Mifflin Company

What the Critics Say

"A little gem." (The New York Times Book Review)
"This is not just a gallery of quirky still lives; these people appear in vignettes, wryly, even comically animated....On any reckoning, a marvelously piercing fiction." (Times Literary Supplement)
"Pitch-perfect in every tone, note, and detail: unflinching, humane, and wonderful." (Kirkus Reviews)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (77 )
5 star
 (16)
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 (23)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (4)
Overall
3.8 (41 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (41 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Teddy gentofte 2820Denmark 11-11-04
    Teddy gentofte 2820Denmark 11-11-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    "Superb"

    JUst buy this GEM of a book and lets hope that there will be more as audio in the future of her work.....all books a treasures.Enjoy

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Happy Helena 05-14-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    48
    12
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    "Small book about small town with narrow horizons"
    What made the experience of listening to The Bookshop the most enjoyable?

    This book did not have the expected ending, where things get wound up and a kind of justice is established for the bookshop and its owner. The novel unfolds more as life does, disappointing us on many levels, but we manage. An absorbing story, yet without any shattering events. A town is created that might exist, although we book-lovers hope it does not. Highlights the little life-changing setbacks of characters in its landscape, and the small tragedies that are depressing on the whole, while the current of life in the town does go onward into the future--but a less life-affirming future--without the bookstore and its plucky owner.


    What does Donada Peters bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Lively and clear voice; most enjoyable to listen to, and does dialect well.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miles Philadelphia, PA, United States 02-21-15
    Miles Philadelphia, PA, United States 02-21-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    11
    8
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Pleasantly subtle"

    This is a nicely understated work, finely etched characters, crisp dialogue, oblique humor with a gentle satiric edge. British rural life, well done.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    careful shopper 02-12-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    6
    5
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    0
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    Story
    "My first Penelope Fitzgerald"
    Where does The Bookshop rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It was a short listen but it was a very fun read just not my overall favorite. It falls somewhere in the middle of all my listens so far. There are some very funny parts in this audio that definitely made it worthwhile for me.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra Crestview, FL, United States 01-17-07
    Debra Crestview, FL, United States 01-17-07 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    44
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    Overall
    "The Bookshop"

    I was disappointed by the author's inability to fully develop these characters. She only partially captured the feel of an English village which was crucial to the plot. I also did not expect the ending to be so abrupt.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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