Saturday, June 8, 2013

"The Bookman's Tale"

Charlie Lovett is a writer, teacher, and playwright, whose plays for children have been seen in more than 3,000 productions. He is a former antiquarian bookseller and an avid book collector. He and his wife, Janice, split their time between Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Kingham, Oxfordshire, in England.

Lovett applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession, and reported the following:
Who knew? Page 69 is actually quite the window into The Bookman’s Tale. On the surface, not much happens on page 69. Someone named Peter checks his answering machine. Yet many of the major characters in the book are mentioned on page 69: the widowed antiquarian bookseller Peter Byerly, his late wife Amanda, his mentors in the world of rare books Hank Christiansen and Francis Leland. The mystery that Peter is wrestling with is alluded to on page 69: the mystery of how a Victorian watercolor that fell out of a book he found in an old bookshop could so accurately picture his dead wife. And then there is that answering machine message—a message that sends Peter off on the adventure that rapidly takes over the book. That message leads Peter to discover what may be his Holy Grail—a book that could settle once and for all the question of who really wrote the plays attributed to William Shakespeare. If you glance at page 69, you are likely to glimpse words and phrases that get to the heart of what (and where) The Bookman’s Tale is all about: Kingham, watercolor, rare books, margin notes, library, and of course Amanda. For The Bookman’s Tale, as much as anything else, is the story of a widower finally coming to terms with his grief—and it’s just possible that that phone message on page 69 is what starts him in that direction. But to find out, you’ll have to read page 70!
Learn more about the book and author at Charlie Lovett's website.

--Marshal Zeringue