I received C. Robert Cales’s The Bookseller for review over a year ago, and it still hadn’t caught my interest. I don’t remember why I requested it – probably something to do with the fact that it’s set in a bookstore in Boston – but I figured it was time for me to knock it off my TBR, and see what I actually thought about it.
(From Goodreads)A bookstore across from Boston Common operated by a lovable rare book dealer and his wife becomes the acquisition target of a violent South American drug cartel with a new, high tech smuggling process.
George Saunders married Elizabeth Stratton and The Bookseller, a bookstore, coffee parlor and residence across from Boston Common which was a wedding present from her father thirty years before the story begins.
Frank Richter, Funeral Director, former high school basketball star and Best Man is reunited with his best friends by a rare book. Frank spends a week with George and Elizabeth on their sailboat and comes to the realization that the joys of life have been slipping away, unnoticed.
John Stoner, lead man for one of the largest construction companies in the country is in Freetown, MA where a woods is to be cleared to make way for a mall. The crumbling old house within the woods has been the source of local legends for hundreds of years.
Carlos Ramirez, drug lord, child molester, murderer – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg…
The Bookseller has a very intriguing premise. Unfortunately, that’s where my interest in this book ended. There is just so much going on! I had a hard time following all of the different plots and how they connected. I think Cales was a bit too overambitious with this book, and I wish he’d reined himself in a bit. I felt like I was thrown into the middle of a party and five different people are all trying to tell me their stories at the same time. And they all connect, but I don’t get enough of each one for the connections to be clear. And then I kind of end up not caring about any of them. By the time I finished the prologue and jumped into Chapter One, I was already confused. I liked the general idea, and if the author had stuck to one or two plot lines, this book might have been successful.
Sadly, I also didn’t care for the writing. It was definitely good. C. Robert Cales has talent. But one of my biggest pet peeves as a reader is when writing is pretentious, and that’s definitely what I got here. Usually when I encounter this, it’s in a book everyone else loves, so don’t let that put you off. But it is just not something I enjoy, and, nine times out of ten, it affects how I see the story itself.
Overall, this wasn’t a very enjoyable read for me. But I am giving it two stars, because I thought the writing was technically good, and I think the author had some good ideas – he just shouldn’t have tried to fit them all in one book.
(In this book’s defense, I do think this is just not the type of book I like reading, and if I had noticed the pentagram on the cover earlier, I might not have requested it – I was not expecting the supernatural/evil aspect of this book.)
If you’ve read The Bookseller, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
This book was provided to me by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.