Love, Death & Rare Books
Author(s): Robert Hellenga
Chas. Johnson & Sons has been a family operation for three generations—grandfather, father and son. But when it comes time for Gabe Johnson to take the reins of the business, the world of books has changed, and the combination of the internet and inner city rents forces the store to close. But instead of folding his hand, Gabe decides to risk everything he has and reopen the shop—and, in a sense restart his life—in a small town on the shores of Lake Michigan. Haunted his entire life by an obsession with a former lover, he finds her again only to be faced with yet another even more difficult challenge that threatens the well-being of the revival of the bookstore as well as the fate of his rekindled relationship.
"All of Hellenga's novels revel in the details of their protagonists' occupations, and this one is no different: it is an ode to physical books, their smell and feel, but also to the idea of both living life and reading about it, not choosing one over the other."
“Elegantly moving… Everything about the narrator and the heroine of this novel is appealing right from the first paragraph… Like her, the book is modest, resourceful, and without malice—it is high-minded and fine.”
“Conveys a sense of certainty and ultimate truth that only the finest writing can achieve. It is an extraordinary novel.”
“Let’s add Robert Hellenga to the lists of American’s most admired fiction writers... he once again has produced a novel that adds immeasurably to the pleasures of reading contemporary fiction.”
“Sweet and lovely. A charmingly picaresque tale.”
“Don’t start reading this book if you’ve got a dinner party coming up in the next few days, or a committee meeting or a golf game. You’ll be calling people up with fake excuses and feeling bad about yourself—at least that’s what happened to me… A masterpiece.”
“The beauty of this novel and, in fact, of all of Hellenga’s work, lies in the scrupulous attention he pays to those different shapes that life takes.”