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One of the great love-letters to books and bookstores returns"When you sell a man a book," says Roger Mifflin, the protagonist of this classic novella, "you don't sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue--you sell him a whole new life." Mifflin--whom we first meet in Morley's Parnassus on Wheels--is an itinerant bookseller, ensconced in literary Brooklyn. "If you are ever in Brooklyn, that borough of superb sunsets and magnificent vistas of husband-propelled baby-carriages," he advises, "it is to be hoped you may chance upon a quiet by-street where there is a very remarkable bookshop." The shop, haunted by "the ghosts of all great literature," provides the alluring setting for this suspenseful novella. Strange things are happening: books disappear and reappear, suspicious characters lurk, and the distant First World War may be encroaching even on the peaceful old brownstone where the shop makes it home. A thoroughly entertaining tribute to the bookseller's art, and one of the most beloved bookish novels of all time.
Parnassus on Wheels is Morley's first novel, about a fictional traveling book-selling business. The original owner of the business, Roger Mifflin, sells it to 39-year-old Helen McGill, who is tired of taking care of her older brother, Andrew. Andrew is a former businessman turned farmer, turned author. As an author, he begins using the farm as his Muse rather than a livelihood. When Mifflin shows up with his traveling bookstore, Helen buys it--partly to prevent Andrew from buying it--and partly to treat herself to a long-overdue adventure of her own. The first of two novels to be written from a woman's perspective, as well as the prequel to a later novel (The Haunted Bookshop), Parnassus on Wheels was inspired by David Grayson's novel, The Friendly Road, and starts with an open letter to Grayson, taking him to task for not concerning himself (except in passing) with his sister's opinion of and reaction to his adventure.
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