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Publisher's Summary

Short-listed for the Booker Prize.

In a small East Anglian town, Florence Green decides, against polite but ruthless local opposition, to open a bookshop.

Hardborough becomes a battleground. Florence has tried to change the way things have always been done, and as a result she has to take on not only the people who have made themselves important but natural and even supernatural forces, too. Her fate will strike a chord with anyone who knows that life has treated them with less than justice.

©1978 Penelope Fitzgerald; Introduction David Nicholls 2013; Preface Hermione Lee 2013 (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

What listeners say about The Bookshop

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

On my to read list for a long time

I thoroughly enjoyed this short novel. It was exquisitely written and a sometimes gentle, sometimes sad portrayal of the small-mindedness of village folk. The characters, although minimally explored, come into sharp focus. I have no doubt that this is an accurate portrayal of what post War village life was like in England.
I would caution you to skip the commentary at the beginning and return to it after you have finished the book as it provides details better uncovered on your own. The commentary was insightful but might spoil the book for the reader.
I look forward to reading other books by this author.

18 people found this helpful

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Such a great listen...

Hated the ending. The characters deserved better....but what a story. Everyone, everywhere, will recognize these characters....walking through their own lives. SLKW

7 people found this helpful

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Thoughtful, entertaining and a delightful treat

This short book is a delight of fascinating perception both of realistic characters, as well as the location and life style in a small coastal village where everyone knows everything about everyone else, A place where jealousies easily arise and where real or imagined slights are never forgotten or forgiven..

I chose to read this recently without realising there was a film about to be released. Having listened, in every spare moment I could, to reach the end I now look forward to the film version. Glad I heard this version first, because the beauty of the prose may become lost in a film version which relies on visual and dialogue..Happy to recommend as a thoughtful, entertaining short novel.

The narration was ideal, capturing the characters, the atmosphere of the village and enhancing the descriptions of the bleak Norfolk landscape..

7 people found this helpful

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An Enjoyable Read - Small Town

A lovely story about one who hoped to provide where there was not, education, art and love of reading. Unbeknownst to her, the endeavors were not welcomed by the suspicious little town and members set about in ways that would surprise you.

I enjoyed the time and listened to this one on Audible. The narrators were lovely and truly made the book more enjoyable. I loved the cadence and delicacy of the writing.

Enjoy!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Rj
  • 05-25-20

Unusually refreshing!

It was untraditional in every sense but unexpectedly satisfying and superbly narrated. I applaud kindness!

3 people found this helpful

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Spoiler Alert: Skip Chapter 2 -- It Ruins the Book

I realize that Audible wants to present the book as written. In this case, you first get the preface. This is no problem. But then you get an "Introduction." In fact, it is a review that tells you everything of importance that happens.

I literally could not believe my ears. Audible should immediately correct this and place the "Intro" at the end, or at least note that listeners who do not wish to to hear David Nicholls' description of the book should skip chapter 2.

The book itself is outstanding. But I had to give low marks to performance and overall experience because it was ruined by chapter 2.

2 people found this helpful

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Small Town England

This was an excellent listen on audio, I don't think I'd enjoy just reading it. Set in a small village in England it is a tale of taking a risk, being a little naive about what might be a success and how to run a small business. Florence Green has a kind heart, but that cannot be said for another woman in the village who ruthlessly sets about being Florence's and the bookshop's downfall.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Such Potential!

However...... sad, abrupt ending! A little disappointed that there was no resolution for any of the characters!

4 people found this helpful

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Don’t waste your time

Wow. That had to be the most boring book I’ve ever listened to. If you need something to put you to sleep, this would be it. Not to mention that there is nothing cheerful at all about it. Just one bad thing after another and ending on an even lower note. I have no idea how this book won literary awards. And there are not many books that I don’t like.

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A treasure of a novel

What a joyous experience. Each page is alive with wise observation, fresh wit, and a disarmingly matter-of-fact sense of sadness. It's a quiet stunner, exquisitely narrated by Eve Karpf. Five stars all the way.

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  • Maggieannie
  • 12-29-16

Short but sweet

What made the experience of listening to The Bookshop the most enjoyable?

This was a lovely little book. I especially enjoyed the narration this time.

What did you like best about this story?

It had a bitter sweet theme.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

Three different narrators and all very good.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Quite sad really with the odd chuckle.

5 people found this helpful

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  • bookylady
  • 06-05-19

Wonderful storytelling

This is a tale with hidden depths and characters that are far more complex than they at first appear.
Set in a small, rural town in the late 1950s The Bookshop tells the story of a widow's struggle to establish a business in a community riven by class divisions and clashing ideas on the need for an Arts Centre.
The writing is sublime and the simplicity of the story is one of its strengths. But it is a novel that is full of thought-provoking themes - class, the value of education, the nature of work, the machinations of local politics, the danger of gossip, manipulation of people, what it is to be an outsider.
The ending is heart-breaking and I was very moved by the bookseller's plight. A brilliant novel.

3 people found this helpful

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  • MaR
  • 10-02-18

Pretty much perfect

I have been planning to read the Bookshop for some time but have simply never got around to it. I am so glad it is perfect audio book slow, gentle, funny and heartbrealking in a very short spaceof time. it si a very English book both in charachter and pace and I so loved it. The narration fits perfectly. Perhaps my favourite Audible so far.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-05-20

Elegant read

I loved this book. It is short and leaves you thinking about what happens next. It is beautifully written with exquisite language and character. This audiobook performance is understated and bring the story to life.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-19-20

The bookshop

Slow and seemingly lacking in any plot . Constantly waiting for it to pick up but just got more depressing !

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-13-19

A nice short read,/listen

An easy read/listen, quite relaxing, not too heavy if you want some light fiction. Cosy would sum this book up.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Catherine
  • 02-01-19

Dull And Depressing

Let me start by emphasising that reader's performance is excellent.

The characters are vivid although one-dimensional - each only seemed to want one thing and serve one function and I didn't particularly care about any of them. The descriptions are lively and original. So why the one star? The problem is the plot which is too simple (twists and turns? No.) and pedestrian. And then there's the ending - not dramatic, not cathartic, just an inevitable slide into dreary failure. If you're looking for an escapist, nostalgic, uplifting read this is not the book for you.

I'm astonished this has been made into a film. I'm half tempted to watch it to see what changes they've made, if any, to improve on the book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-27-18

A wonderful novel

A tale of one woman's failure but ambiguously, elliptically, beautifully and assuredly written. A treasure.

1 person found this helpful

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  • a.hopewell
  • 09-08-18

unexpected pleasure

I was surprised and pleased to listen to this superb story from Penelope Fitzgerald, great.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gill Fowler
  • 08-30-21

Spellbinding

I am new to Penelope Fitzgerald 's work. But now am a devoted fan. Great story,real characters. Loved it. Beautifully read. Sorry it's over.

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  • Neicey
  • 07-03-20

Read this if you want to be thoroughly depressed

what an awful story of awful people. I found it absolutely excruciating. I kept listening as I couldn't believe that nothing good would come of it.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Rowena Buchanan
  • 06-15-20

It was good to read between other stories

This was deemed a bestseller, and was good to read between other stories. The narration was good. The whole story is a little slice of the late 1950's and is lovely because of that.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Akhila Hughes
  • 07-21-18

Depressing

Great writing depressing people depressing place depressing story. Just really writing these last words because A review has to be a Min of words.