I had never heard of Charlie Lovett, but he sounds like an interesting man. He is a writer, teacher, and a playwright. He is also a former antiquarian bookseller, like the main character in his novel, and has collected rare books and other materials related to Lewis Carroll for more than 25 years.
This book was an interesting literary journey through the last 400 years of rare book collecting and Shakespearean literature. If any of that appeals to you, than you may like this book. If not, than you might find some of the content and descriptions of book collecting, book conservation and Shakespearean times drag on a bit. For myself, I found it quite a learning experience. I didn’t know there was controversy over whether or not Shakespeare was the true author of all his plays. I had never heard of Robert Cotton and his extensive library that has been given over to the British library. And I didn’t know that Pandosto, written by Robert Greene, was the inspiration for Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale.
There were three parts to this book. One being the historical and technical parts I just described, which made up my favourite parts of the book. There is also a mystery surrounding the original manuscript of the Pandosto written by Robert Greene, which I did get into after it got a little momentum going. The third part of the book took us back to the college years of the main character and how he got involved in the antiquarian bookselling world. It also involved the love story between the main character and his now deceased wife. This part of the book, in my opinion, could have been cut way back. I felt like too much effort was put into it, and it just didn’t convince me (it was a bit cheesy).
If you have been reading my thoughts on books for a while now, you will know that I love sharing quotes from the books I’ve read. Usually for every quote I share, there are one or two that I don’t. The fact that I could really only find one for you from this book, I think, says a lot.
He closed his eyes for a moment, imagining the cocoon of books shielding him from all danger, inhaling deeply that familiar scent of cloth and leather and dust and words.
Despite my ambivalence about this book, I think the things I got out of it (including entertainment value) make up for the weaker parts. Has anyone else read or heard of this book?