Friday, March 30, 2018

Book Beginning: Matt Cohen's The Bookseller

October light. The long thin knife of memory. October light gets right inside and gives you the little twist. Take an afternoon in late October, an afternoon when the last light of summer is slanting over the fallen leaves, the cold damp green of October grass. Today, for example. the beginning of Matt Cohen's The Bookseller.

Matt Cohen was a Canadian writer--he died young in 1999--and he lived at the end of his life in my neighborhood. There's a series of outdoors signs to his memory only a few blocks from my home. I haven't read any Cohen, but I bought this a couple of years ago when my local indy bookstore was going out of business. (I tried! I did my best!) This one looked the most interesting. Paul Stevens, the narrator, sells used books and gets into a complicated love affair.

As someone who's spent almost all of his life on one Great Lake or another, I quite agree about the quality of light in fall, in late October. I'm a bit more positive than the narrator seems to be, but it got my attention.

This will serve as my 'read local' book for the Monthly Motif challenge. I think at this point it doesn't get much more local for me than Matt Cohen.

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a bookish meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. To play, quote the beginning of the book you're currently reading, give the author and title, and any thoughts if you like. 


  1. I love this beginning. I've written the title down. Sorry Matt Cohen died so young.

    1. I'm now about 1/4 through it. I'm really liking it. And it really is set within blocks of where I live.

  2. The first section does set the tone. I like that he spends time developing it. Great find for the local book challenge.