Welcome to the life of A.J. Fikry. The recently widowed owner of Island Books could be described as downright unpleasant, even on a good day. Having turned sour after the unexpected death of his wife, and even more so once his book store's profits began to dwindle, he is the sort that would scoff at the thought of reading a Grisham novel, preferring instead a reputable short story collection. When he meets his new Knightley Press publishing rep, Amelia Loman, who stops by the store one day to promote a sentimental autobiography, things do not go well. That is, until A.J. receives an entirely unexpected wake-up call, and he must fix himself in order to care for another.
Arranged much like his prized short stories, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry touches on brief moments throughout A.J.'s life, some wonderfully uplifting, others bittersweet. Each chapter features familiar characters who are somehow tied to Island Books and its owner. Their stories intertwine with A.J's throughout, creating wholly unexpected moments, and adding the same richness to the story itself as they do to A.J's.
Zevin, previously known for her work as a YA author, has proven her versatile writing abilities with this work. Beautifully written, cleverly compiled, and with more heart added than most, I can only hope that she continues on her path as a fiction writer. Written for book lovers and those with an interest in just what goes on behind the scenes at their neighborhood bookstore.