Gabrielle Zevin has published six adult and young adult novels, including Elsewhere, an American Library Association Notable Children's Book, which has been translated in over twenty languages. She is the screenwriter of Conversations with Other Women (starring Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Eckhart), for which she received an Independent Spirit Award nomination. She has also written for the New York Times Book Review and NPR's All Things Considered. She lives in Los Angeles.
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Gabrielle Zevin answers questions about her novel The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
Even though he's so cantankerous, bookstore owner A. J. Fikry is impossible not to love. Where did his character come from?
I sold my first novel about ten years ago, and let's say Fikry came from just under a decade of experiences in publishing. Fikry's the culmination of many, many conversations at publishing lunches and dinners, and ill- to modestly attended bookstore events, and book conferences in summer. He's a little bit Silas Marner, a pinch of Mr. Darcy, anddare I admit this?a dash of myself, too.
Your fictional store, Island Books, has the slogan "No Man is An Island; Every Book is a World." How does that apply to Fikry?
The slogan is something A.J.'s first wife, Nicole, wrote, or at least modified from John Donne. Even before Nicole died, A.J. wasn't necessarily the most gregarious bookseller or person, and the slogan is a reminder from Nicole to A.J. not to shut himself off from the world. There's a danger in reading, or in any intellectual pursuit, for it to become too solitary and myopic, but I believe a true intellectual has a desire to share, to teach. In many ways, that's A.J.'...
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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