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The Bookshop of Yesterdays: A Novel

The Bookshop of Yesterdays: A Novel

Written by Amy Meyerson

Narrated by Ann Marie Gideon


The Bookshop of Yesterdays: A Novel

Written by Amy Meyerson

Narrated by Ann Marie Gideon

ratings:
4/5 (92 ratings)
Length:
11 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 12, 2018
ISBN:
9781488204753
Format:
Audiobook

Description

A woman inherits a beloved bookstore and sets forth on a journey of self-discovery in this poignant debut about family, forgiveness and a love of reading.

Miranda Brooks grew up in the stacks of her eccentric uncle Billy’s bookstore, solving the inventive scavenger hunts he created just for her. But on Miranda’s twelfth birthday, Billy has a mysterious falling-out with her mother and suddenly disappears from Miranda’s life. She doesn’t hear about him again until sixteen years later when she receives unexpected news: Billy has died and left her Prospero Books, which is teetering on bankruptcy, and one final scavenger hunt.

When Miranda returns home to Los Angeles and to Prospero Books—now as its owner—she finds clues that Billy has hidden for her inside novels on the store’s shelves, in locked drawers of his apartment upstairs, in the name of the store itself. Miranda becomes determined to save Prospero Books and to solve Billy’s last scavenger hunt. She soon finds herself drawn into a journey where she meets people from Billy’s past, people whose stories reveal a history that Miranda’s mother has kept hidden—and the terrible secret that tore her family apart.

Bighearted and trenchantly observant, The Bookshop of Yesterdays is a lyrical story of family, love and the healing power of community. It’s a love letter to reading and bookstores, and a testament to how our histories shape who we become.

Publisher:
Released:
Jun 12, 2018
ISBN:
9781488204753
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Amy Meyerson teaches in the writing department at the University of Southern California, where she completed her graduate work in creative writing. She has been published in numerous literary magazines and currently lives in Los Angeles. The Bookshop of Yesterdays is her first novel.



Reviews

What people think about The Bookshop of Yesterdays

4.0
92 ratings / 5 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    3.5 stars. Great narration and good story overall - I figured out the “mystery” at the very beginning though
  • (4/5)
    Lovely. Makes me want to re read Shakespeare, particularly The Tempest which I havent read since college
  • (2/5)
    The Bookshop of Yesterdays is about a young woman, Miranda (27), who, after the death of her estranged uncle, Billy, inherits his bookstore and is propelled forward on a scavenger hunt to reveal the familial truths previously hidden away.

    This one was a tough read all the way through. I don't know what really compelled me to finish—I am a truly reluctant abandoner—but from the beginning I found myself reacting less than favorably toward both the story and the main character, Miranda.

    What happened here, I think, is that Meyerson set up this basic structure of reimagining The Tempest and inserting it into a modern setting and having it all have happened prior to the book's events. Boxing the story into and around that idea resulted in a forced and contrived narrative. The disconnectioned pieces of each section were especially rough around the edges, and each piece of the puzzle Miranda discovered, dissected, and solved found nothing but a hard fit into the wrong space.

    Miranda herself was a very strange and unlikable main character. She was incredibly selfish and self-centered in every possible way—she's the kind of selfish who goes around doing all the selfish acts, expects sympathy—often getting it, and then accuses everyone else around her of being selfish and unforgiving. She also comes off—the entire way—as very immature. She's hardly ever her age of twenty-seven, instead feeling every bit of fourteen. (Random F-bombs along with stilted and occasional sex-talk doesn't manage to do the heavy-lifting for which it seems intended.) Her lack of empathy and her near complete inability to understand that all the other people around her might be having feelings and reactions of their own continually brought the book down. Despite discoveries she makes and previously unknown stories she hears, she stubbornly refuses to allow anyone else's emotions to be valid. And yet, she's not even written to actually be selfish. You can put all the allowances of Miranda being emotionally damaged by the break in her relationship with Billy, but that's not in the words on the page and would be putting more into the book than is actually there.

    It seemed as though Miranda's only role to play was a vehicle that would move Billy's untold story forward and allow each piece of the larger reveal to occur. She has very little character development—she is just as egotistical and self-absorbed at the end as she is in the beginning . . . only with a change of scenery and circumstance. If she were actually as young as she feels, which could explain her obtuseness, and she displayed some true growth and understanding by the book's end, then this would be a coming of age story. Instead, Miranda appears trapped within this box, underdeveloped and immature, aimed at replicating something of Prospero in Billy and injecting the author's clear love of independent bookstores, books themselves, and the love of reading.

    Also among the oddities, the choice of style and structure for the way in which the secondary and tertiary characters would switch into some omnisciently delivered flashbacks. The whole of the book was from Miranda's point of view, save for these stories, and so when she would hear a recounting of an event from the past, Meyerson would pepper in some third-person limited narration. The way it brushed up against Miranda's POV was incredibly awkward—especially to listen to it from the audiobook. It was as though Miranda had taken the dialogue that should've been there, as the other character told her what had happened, and pasted it into her own story with no preamble and no clear POV switching. What's past is prologue , my foot.

    One of the only things that ever put me on Miranda's side was her deep desire to figure out the clues Billy has left for her on this, and her resistance to the notion everyone else was trying to feed her of this desire making no sense for present day Miranda. She was constantly up against some kind of guff about not having been in the bookstore in years, never having mentioned it, or not having talked to Billy in ages. And while I see some level of validity in their arguments—my side on that comes more from the fact that I don't believe for one second that her character would've so completely forgotten Billy for so many years, or allowed him to drift away so completely as he did. That's just ludicrous. But Miranda's desire to complete this last word puzzle from her uncle, that's a way to cope with grief which I'd understand—an allowance Miranda wasn't prone to granting for others.

    However, this small aspect was not enough to warrant my empathy toward Miranda. She was just too petty, too unaware, and lacked emotional depth. Her person, on the whole, never seemed real. She was inconsistent in her logic—which continued to play into the fact that she felt practically prepubescent.

    Audiobook, as narrated by Ann Marie Gideon: When you listen to an audiobook, and the story isn't working, it's often hard to know how much of that opinion is influenced by the audio performance, and how much to allow in the reverse opinion for the performance itself. So, I don't know where the line is here. The only thing I could add is that Gideon was probably not to blame, though I wasn't overly fond of her voice for the male characters. I'd have to sample her other work before I'd pick up another audiobook voiced by her.
  • (5/5)
    Loved this book, couldn't put it down, had to keep listening right to the end. The narrative has just enough mystery to keep me riveted, not only wanting to know how the story ended but how we get to that ending. I was sad to finish the story. And - I didn't guess the 'mystery' until close to its revelation! .
  • (5/5)
    I love how the author connected all the books in this novel, such a great book!!