Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Library of Unrequited Lobe by Sophie Divry

What an odd book. Well, I was warned. My favorite book recommender was excited about this book, but then she said it wasn't quite what she expected. Sophie Divry certainly gives an interesting impression of library workers inThe Library of Unrequited Love. It is translated from the French by Sian Reynolds, but I have to say I don't think the book was strange because of the translation.

The unnamed narrator works in the Geography section of a public library in a small provincial town in France. However, the library does have more than 200,000 books, so it isn't so small. She begins by talking to an unknown person who was in the library when she arrived in the morning, and she introduces herself as "The invisible woman...the one in charge of the Geography section." She has worked in the same job for twenty-five years, where she yearns for a different job (in the History section), and the attention of a man. And, she talks incessantly in stream of consciousness style about the library, writers, men, and the fact that she has spent her entire life not being noticed.

I can't think of anyone who would want to work in a library after reading the complaints of this woman. And, she goes on and on and on... But, then, that's exactly what the book is about, a woman whose entire role in the library is unrecognized and unappreciated, so she grabs the chance to talk about it.

The Library of Unrequited Love is a short book, only ninety-three pages. But, there is one lengthy passage that makes the entire book worth reading for someone who is passionate about sharing books. The first part of the passage reads, "You know, in my job, there's nothing more exciting, that makes you feel more wanted, than to be able to size up the person in front of you, guess what they're after, find the book they need on the shelves and bring the two together." Yes, she's right. That's the best part of a librarian's job, and, the best part of this blog.

But, it's the second part of that passage that sings. "Book and reader, if they meet up at the right moment in a person's life, it can make sparks fly, set you alight, change your life." Yes. The Library of Unrequited Love may not be that book that changes your life. But, that quote is what reading, and a special book, is all about.

The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry. MacLehose Press. 2013. ISBN 9781623654030 (hardcover), 93p.

*****
FTC Full Disclousre - Library book

3 comments:

Kay said...

I agree with your quotes. The best part of library work or any kind of activity that matches books and readers. So much fun and so rewarding!

Kaye Barley said...

"But, it's the second part of that passage that sings. "Book and reader, if they meet up at the right moment in a person's life, it can make sparks fly, set you alight, change your life." Yes." Lesa - perfect! and you're right, this passage sings!

Lesa said...

Even a so-so book can have passages that jump out. Thanks, Kay & Kaye!