Saturday, November 23, 2013
The Haunted Bookshop
Parnassus on Wheels, and the notion that such a wonderful book would have a sequel where the same characters now operate their own bookshop, and that the sequel was much longer than the original -- well, I very much was anticipating a really wonderful experience. And... well... no. Perhaps familiarity breeds comtempt, but it is much more than that. The first book was such a wonderful fantasy... riding the rural countryside in a horse-drawn cart, selling great literature to one farmhouse at a time. The sequel is set in New York City, and while it starts with some high-minded discussion on the true value of literature and its relation to bookselling, it quickly devolves into a third-rate detective novel. Probably the best part of it are the little glimpses it gives into the daily life of 1919... yes, young men smoked pipes regularly. And yes, people would roast marshmallows over the gas jets they used to light their houses! Anyway, it was wonderful to see Roger Mifflin again... but it would have been nice to hear more from his wife, who, after all, was the protagonist of the first book. Honestly, what this needs is a third book to wrap it all up. Christopher Morley is no longer with us... but, wow, what a NaNoWriMo that would be!