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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.
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*Starred Review* Ivan and Francesca’s idea of bliss is a bookshop selling only the finest literature: time-honored treasures as well as overlooked masterpieces, little gems, and innovative new publications. Their dream becomes reality when they open their own shop, The Good Novel, in a fine but unpretentious Paris arrondissement. Their inventory is comprised of recommendations from eight respected authors, an anonymous committee who submit lists of their 600 favorite books. With quiet fanfare, the store opens and immediately achieves great success. Notice is then taken by the mainstream press: Who are these elitists, and how dare they tell everyone what to read? Mayhem ensues. The blogosphere erupts; the Internet roils. Erstwhile competitors spring up overnight, pandering to pedestrian tastes and trumpeting their pseudoegalitarian ideals. Ivan and Francesca stoically try to take it in stride until three of their nominating committee members fall victim to near-fatal accidents. Enveloping this diabolical mystery in a delicate love story, Cossé crafts a luscious paean to bibliophilia, gracefully translated from the French by Anderson. Wry, sly, and coyly seditious, Cossé’s piquant satire is a subtly wrought manifesto against blatant consumer manipulation and media malfeasance. --Carol Haggas
Not a bad book, had its share of poetic or philosophical moments, but disappointing in so many ways. Failed to live up to its spectacular premise.
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Francesca and Ivan decide to open a different type of book store. Their shop will only sell "good" novels. These novels will be chosen by a secret panel of eight authors. Read morePublished 15 months ago by K. Spangler
It' s good but a little heavy going. The best part is a letter from one of the protagonist about the pleasure of reading a good book. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Constanza Serna
I love everything in Paris, and literature, so this was a natural for me. Not being on top of great French lit for a couple of decades made me a tad uncomfortable a few times, but... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Jane
I'm going to start with the negative aspects of this book, because I have less to say about them: the love story fell flat and the mystery's solution was disappointing at best. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Kelly
While certainly not of the calibre the book itself is praising, The Good Novel is a very enjoyable read. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Lindsay Burkholder
This was a book I had to finish, although I nearly gave it up. The premise for the plot was fascinating, a book store that sold only good books. Read morePublished on June 14, 2013 by A. Rochester
This is a beautiful French novel that is both a love letter to great literature and an attempt to wrestle with the mysteries of love in life as in literature. Read morePublished on September 30, 2012 by Lori