I found this good-condition softcover at a local Savers thrift shop, and nabbed it for another release copy. I like the fact that this edition has a bite-sized chunk taken out of the page edges, as part of the rat-living-in-a-bookstore concept.
Funny, and very, very poignant, this book is the autobiography of a rat, the runt of the litter, who loves books - at first, to nibble on, but eventually he finds that he can read them, and "as time passed I read more and chewed less until finally I was spending almost all my waking hours reading and chewed only on the margins." After his siblings and their mother leave the nest, Firmin finds himself pretty much sole rat in the bookshop, and explores, reads, and gnaws happily enough, but is a bit lonely; then, one day, he finds a vantage point from which he can watch the man who owns the shop, and decides he's made a friend - even though the man doesn't know he exists.
Firmin does leave the shop now and then, to scrounge for food and - when he discovers a nearby movie theater - to watch old movies. He also listens in when the shop-owner discusses the impending demolition of Scollay Square (the old Boston landmark that was situated where Government Center is now), and slowly begins to realize that his bookshop-home may not be around for much longer.
But there's worse to come for poor Firmin, when the shop owner spots him one day - and does not exactly welcome him with open arms. Firmin does find refuge with an eccentric local author, but how long will his new refuge last?
Loads of literary references, and fun with the literal interpretation of "devouring a book"; also some nods to the loss of the Scollay Square landmarks - including the original site of Brattle Books. A very poignant story overall. (There's also an audio version, read by Jeff Woodman.)
[I also enjoyed Savage's The Cry of the Sloth.]
Released 4 mos ago (10/21/2017 UTC) at Montague Book Mill in Montague, Massachusetts USA
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
I left this book on one of the outdoor tables at the Alvah Stone restaurant at the Book Mill, while visiting along with BCer eponine38 on this beautiful fall day. Had a lovely lunch, and then went shopping in the Book Mill itself, where I came away with some very nice finds. Wonderful spot! (The slogan is "Books you don't need at a place you can't find", and we almost didn't find it; as to whether I *needed* the books or not, well, that isn't a question I ask myself.) Hope the finder enjoys this book, and that it isn't too much like taking coals to Newcastle!
[See other recent releases in MA here.]