I recently read and wrote a review on (December 3,2007) on "The Library at Night" by Alberto Manguel ;and was mesmerized with it. So,when I came across this little tome,I just had to pick it up. No question Manguel is a man who appreciates great literature and classics. He has spent his life in the pursuits of the writings of the people and books ,who and which,through the centuries ,are considered as the great men and books of literature.
Although I was subjected to this type of literature at school,as were most others,it was not something that enthralled me;and by no means contributed to my present love of books and reading. I was fortunate to have had a father who ,although he never had the opportunity to go to college,also had a great love of reading.He knew nothing of the classics,but had a great interest in politics and subscribed to "Hansard" the proceedings of the House of Commons of Canada. He read all these proceedings for about 40 years. Since there is a tremendous amount of information placed there,"for the record";he had acquired a vast amount of knowledge on many subjects. I doubt if Manguel ever read anthing from Hansard. My point is,that the love of reading is very personal, in what one reads.
This little tome about "Stevenson" was not particularly the type of thing I am attracted to ;so I ,in no way want to say it is good or bad.I am sure some will find it exceptionally good;but others ,like me,will just feel that it doesnt't "ring my bell".
It's been said "all novels fall into one of two themes;a man went on a journey or a stranger came to town".This seems to be the latter.
I don't want to make light of this little short story or novella;but if I were to think back on it a year or so from now ;I might be left with a couple of thoughts.Either,be careful of who you meet up with under a palm tree; or, make sure you know where your hat is.
As an aside; Alberto Manguel no longer resides in Canada,as stated on the dust jaket.He Now lives in France and was named an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. Although I was less than enthused with this book;I will be anxiously anticipating more from him on "Books About Books" in the future.