Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: William Heinemann
24 August, 2017
As debut novels go, Matthew Sullivan’s Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is everything you could wish for from any book, let alone a first published and thanks in no small part to the clarity and poise of the writing, has “Must See Movie” writ large through every chapter. Added to this is that the hardback has one of the most beautiful covers you could hope to run your fingers across!
Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs―the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.
But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has inherited his meagre worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?
A story within story that will resonate with anybody who loves books – their touch, their feel, their weight, their gateway presence to other unseen and thus far unimagined worlds – Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is above all else a refreshing wind on a warm day.
Lydia is immaculately drawn. Troubled, yes, but also so dextrously multi-faceted and complex, being in her company is rather like being in a labyrinth in which you genuinely feel comfortable. Raj and David and Tomas, too, add a sense of warmth and depth to proceedings that, whilst each completely different from each other, are all so well crafted their personalities shimmer with familiarity.
Then, of course, there is the plot. So richly interwoven with deceits and counter-deceits yet never overburdened, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is as compelling Daedaelus crossword and as fulfilling as hot chocolate after a long winter stroll.
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is an absolute triumph and Matthew Sullivan should be warmly welcomed into the world of published authors, whilst also being told to hurry up with his next offering
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