Author in town: meet-and-greet-and-gift exchange with Gabrielle Zevin, Wednesday, at Griffin Bay Bookstore

Author of independent-bookseller favorite,
Author of independent-bookseller favorite, 'The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry,' Gabrielle Zevin will be at Friday Harbor's Griffin Bay Bookstore for a meet-greet-and-gift-exchange, Wednesday, April 9, beginning at 11 a.m.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Tender, funny and homage, of sorts, to independent bookstores, books and to the people who sell them, Gabrielle Zevin's new novel, "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, is making a splash across the nation.

Author of six adult and young adult novels, including "Elsewhere", an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book, Zevin, a contributor to NPR's All Things Considered and New York Times Book Review, is on a nationwide tour to introduce her latest novel, visiting bookstores for a meet-and-greet-and-gift-exchange in all corners of the country, including Friday Harbor.Zevin book

The Los Angeles-based writer will be at Griffin Bay Bookstore Wednesday, April 9, at 11 a.m., where, in the spirit of Zevin's "gift exchange" tour, Griffin Bay Bookstore will present her with a copy of the 50th anniversary edition of M. Wylie Blanchet's Pacific Northwest classic, "The Curve of Time," as well as a giant-sized shortbread cookie in the shape of an orca, created by Felicitations.

Zevin will also be at Darvill's Bookstore on April 9, and at Watermark Book Company in Anacortes.

It should come as no surprise that independent booksellers across the nation have fallen in love with Gabrielle Zevin's latest novel, "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry," as the story is, in a very poignant way, about them.

A bitter, short-tempered, and curmudgeonly bookseller, and recent widower, Fikry, feels as if he has lost what seemed to be the best part of his life. Owner of an independent bookstore, Island Books, Fikry is portrayed at the start of the book as withering away on Alice Island (a small point on the map of New England) that attracts few readers who pass his muster.

But the proverbial table turns when a two-year-old baby girl is abandoned in the dismally stocked children’s section, and Fikry elects, somewhat surprisingly, to keep her. He turns out to be a brilliant father, and the girl turns out to be an extraordinary daughter. Their relationship widens Fikry’s world and changes the fortunes of the business and the lives of several other Alice residents. The pair also alter the life of Amelia Loman, a book publisher representative, who is awkwardly romanced into joining their family.

Cut from the cloth of a classic transformation story, though with many surprises along the way, "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry" is not only a tale about second chances, but an affirmation of why we read, and why we love, as well.


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