My review #41 of: A Novel Bookstore

A Novel Bookstore


Laurence COSSÉ

416 pages


I had been waiting impatiently to be able to read this book. I think the concept is fantastic: have you never dreamed of the perfect bookstore, where you would only be able to find GOOD novels, and not the junk not worth wasting your time reading? The idea is so good that some people thought this store DID exist for sure; a friend even went to an address in Paris, given on the website connected to the book, only to find out it was a shop selling Afghan jewellery! How funny!
I was hooked from the beginning, as I would I guess for any book about books; plus Cossé adds a fun aspect f mystery and thriller to it. It is all about good literature, and also the whole world of publishing, with its ugliness as well.
I was very disappointed by the end though: I had the feeling the plot felt totally through, as if the author suddenly did not know how to end the book; it sounded really flat to me, very different from what the rest of the book, which raises your expectations very high. It could have been shorter but a more refined ending.


Ivan, a one-time world traveler, and Francesca, a ravishing Italian heiress, are the owners of a bookstore that is anything but ordinary. Rebelling against the business of bestsellers and in search of an ideal place where their literary dreams can come true, Ivan and Francesca open a store where the passion for literature is given free reign. Tucked away in a corner of Paris, the store offers its clientele a selection of literary masterpieces chosen by a top-secret committee of likeminded literary connoisseurs. To their amazement, after only a few months, the little dream store proves a success. And that is precisely when their troubles begin. At first, both owners shrug off the anonymous threats that come their way and the venomous comments concerning their store circulating on the Internet, but when three members of the supposedly secret committee are attacked, they decide to call the police. One by one, the pieces of this puzzle fall ominously into place, as it becomes increasingly evident that Ivan and Francesca’s dreams will be answered with pettiness, envy and violence. [Goodreads]


Laurence Cossé (born 1950 in Boulogne-Billancourt, France) is a French writer, who published mainly novels. [1]

She was first a journalist in the French newspaper Le Quotidien de Paris and then at the French public radio France Culture. Most of her novels were published by the French publishing house Gallimard. Her most famous novel to date, Le Coin du voile (1996), was translated as A Corner of the veil in American English (as well as in five other languages).

Although she published one poetic novel (Les Chambres du Sud) and one historical novel (La Femme du premier ministre), most of her latest novels evoke the contemporary French society, often in a critical or ironical manner. [wikipedia]


The founding of a unique Paris bookstore triggers jealousies and threats in Cossé’s intriguing follow-up to The Corner of the Veil (1999). Former comic-book seller Ivan “Van” Georg and stylish Francesca Aldo-Valbelli team to establish the Good Novel, a bookshop that will stock only masterpieces in fiction, which are selected by a secret committee of writers. At first, the warm welcome of the bookstore results in soaring sales. Then attacks in the press, the opening of rival bookstores, and attempts against the lives of committee members by persons unknown sour the atmosphere for the Good Novel’s community of readers and writers. Cossé poignantly depicts characters who have turned to literature for solace against the pain in their lives, creates ongoing speculation as to the shadowy first-person narrator, and furnishes sly commentary about gatekeeping in the literary world. Though purists may be disappointed with the solution to the mystery, there’s plenty of food for thought.  {Publishers Weekly]

CODA: it seems this new review format prompts me to write longer reviews, so I’ll stick to this. And oh, I have finally managed to catch up with books read to review!


3 thoughts on “My review #41 of: A Novel Bookstore

  1. Pingback: Read in May 2011 « Words And Peace

  2. Pingback: GOOD BOOKS FOR YOUR WEEK-END 08/6-7 « Words And Peace

  3. Pingback: I love France #7: #70 Review: An Accident in August « Words And Peace

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