Sunday, January 3, 2021

"Confessions of a Curious Bookseller"

Elizabeth Green graduated from the University of the Arts with a BFA in theater arts. They have contributed to McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Hobart, Wigleaf, Necessary Fiction, fwriction : review, and others. Their hobbies include native gardening and aikido. Hailing from Upstate New York—Greenwich, to be specific—Green now lives outside Philadelphia with their husband and two cats.

They applied the Page 69 Test to their new book, Confessions of a Curious Bookseller, and reported the following:
If you open to page 69 of my book, you'll find our narrator, Fawn Birchill, lamenting in an email to her staff about her high energy bills due to a window being left open in the back of her bookstore. She attempts to shut the jammed window by hitting the top of it with a hammer, to no avail. The page ends with the opening of another email, gushing to a local catering company about their food.

The book is entirely epistolary, so what we get throughout are communications from our rather unreliable narrator, to her often baffled and beleaguered recipients. Because of this, I think the test works in the sense that we get an idea of how Fawn solves problems: haphazardly and without much consideration. It's not unlike how she lives her life – at least until she does some soul-searching – so in that sense, I think the test works.

Her email to the catering company might seem like a friendly one on its face, but as we read on, we learn that she is embarking on a campaign to get a big discount for her store's holiday party. I think if one reads between the lines of this book, there is nuance to be discovered. She is a curmudgeon for sure, but her tactics, though misguided and cringeworthy, are justified to her. She loves her store, and will do anything to make it successful, even if it sometimes accidentally leads to self-sabotage.
Visit Elizabeth Green's website.

--Marshal Zeringue