Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London, by Garth Nix (author), Marisa Calin (narrator)

Penguin Random House Audio Publishing, ISBN 9780593171875, September 2020

In a 1983 that is perhaps slightly different from the one we remember, Susan Arkshaw turns 18 on May 1, and shortly thereafter goes to London. In three months, she'll be starting art school. In the meantime, she wants to find her father, whom she has never met and about whom her mother has told her almost nothing, including not telling her even his first name.

She does have some clues, though, including a few items that may have belonged to her father, and the name and address of one potential candidate--"Uncle" Frank Tingley, who sent her cards at Christmas for years. When she reaches his home, though, she finds that "Uncle" Frank does not seem at all a likely possibility, and moreover seems to be a rather creepy person she'd rather not be associated with. As she's preparing to sneak out of the house, a very attractive young man comes in, and sticks Frank with a pin, which causes him to disintegrate into dust--which is not the kind of creepy Susan had been worried about.

Soon the young man, who says his name is Merlin, is leading her on an escape from beings who came in after Frank disintegrated. Their pursuers are a dark cloud and a huge, bug-like creature, and their escape route is only superficially more natural. When what might be a park ranger shoots at Susan, not Merlin, Merlin decides she needs to meet some unlikely people.

Merlin St. Jacques is one of the left-handed booksellers of London, part of a large, extended clan that includes the right-handed booksellers of London. These booksellers are engaged in more than just selling books; they are protecting the world from supernatural destabilization.

It appears one of the ancient Sovereigns, the powers most capable of destabilizing things, and some of whom are actively malevolent, is taking an unusual and worrying interest in Susan

What follows is terror, adventure, betrayal, magical places and experiences, and disturbing revelations about Susan's background, as well as intrigue among the booksellers. Meanwhile, there's no question that Susan and Merlin are finding each other interesting. Yet they are rather distracted by other things, and Susan is not at all sure that Merlin would sustain anything other than a very short-term relationship.

On  the other hand, the fact that Merlin is considering changing from male to female in the indeterminate future, and in the meantime seems to enjoy wearing dresses and suits in about equal measure, doesn't appear to strike either Susan or anyone else as a possible obstacle to a romantic relationship between them.

It's fun, it's interesting, the characters are great, and it really kept me listening the whole time.


I bought this audiobook.

No comments:

Post a Comment