The Librarianist

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Product Details
$18.99  $17.66
Ecco Press
Publish Date
5.3 X 7.9 X 1.0 inches | 0.65 pounds

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About the Author

Patrick deWitt is the author of the novels French Exit (a national bestseller), The Sisters Brothers (a New York Times bestseller short-listed for the Booker Prize), and the critically acclaimed Undermajordomo Minor and Ablutions. Born in British Columbia, he now resides in Portland, Oregon.


"[A] wildly imaginative author." -- Washington Post

"This engrossing fictional portrait of a retired librarian volunteering at an old folks home unspools its main character's life--betrayals, loss, triumphs--with humor and tenderness." -- Vanity Fair

"Warmhearted. [The Librarianist] shares the attributes of its hero: likable, unshowy. . .reliably soothing." -- Wall Street Journal

"[A] poignant character study. . .DeWitt's writing and endearing characters create a memorable world." -- Los Angeles Times

"Patrick deWitt is a 21st-century Mark Twain. . . .The warmth that deWitt exhibits here gives this one an emotional staying power . . . Is it possible to change the contours of your personality late in life, with, as the woman with the prophetic space heater puts it, 'the knowledge of a long dusk coming on'? The final scene in The Librarianist features an answer as modest as it is revolutionary, but deWitt has spent the preceding pages making the oxymoron of a modest revolution utterly believable. The answer is: maybe a little bit. Maybe enough." -- Laura Miller, Slate

"I think each Patrick deWitt novel is going to be the one that helps everyone fall in love with his writing, but The Librarianist could finally do it. . . . DeWitt's dialogue moves with the speed and precision of great conversation . . . Bright and entertaining from beginning to end." -- Minneapolis Star Tribune

"A quiet, melancholy novel, one that is perfect for long summer evenings." -- Town & Country

"[An] affectionate portrait of an introverted loner who makes some surprising connections late in life. . .[DeWitt's] bemused sense of compassion for his characters recalls Anne Tyler, with whom he shares a soft spot for misfits, along with a firm conviction that even supposedly ordinary people lead extraordinary lives." -- Christian Science Monitor

"A bittersweet tale of a retired librarian . . . DeWitt imbues the people he meets with color and quirks, leaving a trail of sparks . . . This one gradually takes hold until it won't let go." -- Publishers Weekly

"Bob Comet, a retired librarian . . . brings to mind John Williams' Stoner and Thoreau's chestnut about 'lives of quiet desperation, ' but it is telling that deWitt chooses to capture him at times when his life takes a turn. A quietly effective and moving character study." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred)

"Readers come to deWitt (French Exit, 2018) for his brand of slightly off-kilter storytelling blessed with exuberant characterizations, gleeful dialogue, and a proprietary blend of darkness and charm, all strung up in lights here. Gripping, random, and totally alive? Check, check, and check." -- Booklist

"The Librarianist is another charmer from an author who knows how to delight." -- BookPage

"DeWitt's great gift lies in his ability to depict the Everyman in extremis - heroism hidden in plain sight." -- Telegraph (UK)

"DeWitt takes us on a waltzer of a ride, twisting through Bob's life." -- Financial Times (UK)

"The Booker Prize-shortlisted deWitt creates an endearing character in Bob Comet, who, at the age of 72, and after a lifetime of low expectations, finds life's answers and the friends he deeply needs. This novel begs to be read." -- Booklist

"A nuanced account of heartbreak and emotional confusion. . . .I would heartily recommend The Librarianist. It is full of subtle reflections on contemporary life and. . .deceptively biting humor." -- The Independent (UK)

"I found the whole reading experience utterly charming...The dialogue is fresh and characters come alive immediately on the page and there's simply an energy to deWitt's books that make them pleasurable to spend time with, and that's all on display in The Librarianist." -- Chicago Tribune

"The protagonist of Patrick DeWitt's latest novel both upholds and belies the image of the quiet librarian. When Bob Comet, retired librarian, begins volunteering at a local senior center to fill the void he's felt since retirement, we start to learn more about his colorful, complex past. As he gathers a coterie of interesting new acquaintances around him, these mingle and mix with characters from his past to create an engaging read about a seeming introvert's far-from-ordinary life." -- Electric Literature

"Heartwarming . . . . Weaving accounts of wartime bravery, lost romance, and the unconventional joys of the everyday, deWitt celebrates the extraordinary moments nestled within the ordinary with wit and empathy." -- Monocle

"The premise of deWitt's fiction is simple: it takes a long time to get over what has happened to you. Some defining incident is replayed in the minds of his characters; a story must be told and retold until it spreads out like a stain in to every part of your life. You can try to bend it, make it comic, force it into anecdote, but it will continue to haunt you. . . . His characters . . . often speak in cutting aphorisms. In a single scene, deWitt manages to convey the whole course of a solitary life." -- Nicole Flattery, London Review of Books