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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and Engaging
Translated from the French, this debut novella from Sophie Divry, is a wonderfully quirky and very engaging story, which I read from cover to cover in one enjoyable sitting.

One morning, a middle-aged female librarian arrives at her place of work and prepares to open the Geography section, situated in the basement of the building. This is the section of the...
Published 16 months ago by Susie B

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's unlike anything I've read before
Sophie Divry's The Library of Unrequited Love is very a short story you can easily devour, from cover to cover, in one sitting. I'll be totally honest here: it's been a while since I finished reading it and I still don't know what to make of this book. What I know for certain is that it's unlike anything I've read before.

Firstly, the book doesn't have any...
Published 16 months ago by Vicky @ Books, Biscuits, and Tea


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's unlike anything I've read before, 21 Feb 2013
This review is from: The Library of Unrequited Love (Hardcover)
Sophie Divry's The Library of Unrequited Love is very a short story you can easily devour, from cover to cover, in one sitting. I'll be totally honest here: it's been a while since I finished reading it and I still don't know what to make of this book. What I know for certain is that it's unlike anything I've read before.

Firstly, the book doesn't have any chapters or any kind of divisions at all. None. Nada. I know it's a short book but if you don't have enough time to read it in one sitting and you also happen to have a weird habit of reading to the end of a chapter before setting your book aside (like me), it might make you feel a bit uneasy. Another thing that was completely new for me is narration. It's basically a one-way conversation between the librarian and a reader who has been locked in the library's basement overnight. We know nothing about the reader - not even his or her name or whether s/he's a man or a woman. Everything we know comes from the librarian's monologue, which is definitely one of the things that make this book unique and unlike any other. But again, I still wasn't a hundred percent sure what to make of it. I love how we gradually get to know our narrator and what type of person she is and I found myself smirking (or occasionally nodding) at some of her remarks. Perhaps one of the things I loved the most about this book is how the narrator talks about reading and how she describes what it means to her. She says, "I prefer the company of books. When I'm reading, I'm never alone, I have a conversation with the book. It can be very intimate. Perhaps you know this feeling yourself? [...] When I'm reading, I can forget everything, sometimes I don't even hear the phone." And I'm sure it's something all of us bookworms can agree with, something we all go through on a daily basis. At the same time, I would've liked to know a bit more about the reader and see what s/he makes of all this or how s/he reacts to some of our librarian's observations.

If you like short stories and the lack of chapters don't bother you, I would say go for it and give it a try. It might not have been my favourite book of the month but it was an interesting read all the same and I know for a fact that book lovers will find many of its aspects easily relatable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and Engaging, 10 Mar 2013
By 
Susie B - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Library of Unrequited Love (Hardcover)
Translated from the French, this debut novella from Sophie Divry, is a wonderfully quirky and very engaging story, which I read from cover to cover in one enjoyable sitting.

One morning, a middle-aged female librarian arrives at her place of work and prepares to open the Geography section, situated in the basement of the building. This is the section of the library, we discover, of which our main character is in charge. The librarian, we learn, has worked at the library for twenty five years and she finds the peace and quiet of her surroundings reassuring. We also learn that she needs precision and routine: "I could never work in a railway station: too much going on and the very idea that a train was going to be late would give me a panic attack." Every day she follows the same rules, ensuring she does not draw attention to herself; to be a librarian, she says, it is important to like the idea of book classification and to be of a docile nature: "No initiative, no room for the unexpected." The librarian is, therefore, rather surprised at the unexpected discovery of a sleeping person in her department whom, she realises, has been locked in the library overnight.

Making use of her uninvited guest, our heroine asks the intruder to find a misplaced book by Jean Paul Sartre and then serves coffee from her flask, before delivering a fascinating monologue to her listener, which allows the reader to discover all manner of things about our unnamed heroine. We learn about her opinion of the library itself: of its function and of the hierarchy of librarians; we discover what she thinks of her job and of those who work around her; we listen to her frustrations and her worries; and we learn that although she loves books with a passion, she has a low opinion of writers, particularly male writers, in fact she's pretty much given up on men altogether - or has she?

I could continue, but I won't, because this small, deftly composed novella has only 96 pages and I wouldn't want to spoil even one of those pages for prospective readers. Beautifully written (and, to my ear, skilfully translated) this is an absolutely delightful and very enjoyable little book. If you appreciate good writing, you like something a little different, and you have a passion for books, then this is for you. I am already looking forward to seeing what Sophie Divry comes up with for her next fictional outing, but in the meantime, I know I shall be rereading this little novel with pleasure.

5 Stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'To know your way round a library is to master the whole of culture, i.e. the whole world.', 26 Feb 2013
By 
L. H. Healy "Books are life, beauty and truth." (Cambridgeshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Library of Unrequited Love (Hardcover)
I think this is a beautiful book inside and out. A lovely little hardback with a very attractively designed dust jacket, and inside a wonderful novella filled with remarkable, striking observations about books, libraries, love and life.

Sophie Divry's debut is written in the form of a monologue delivered by a librarian in the provinces who one morning discovers a reader in the library who has been locked in there all night. This reader is on the receiving end of the librarian's thoughts; subjected to hearing all about the things she loves, the things that anger and irritate her, and the person who has caught her eye.

I read this book in just a couple of sittings, and many readers would probably finish it in just one. It's a charming and insightful little story featuring a passionate but anxious, troubled and lonely lady. The librarian feels invisible and is unhappy with the Geography section that she has been allocated, longing for her preferred section, History; indeed she divulges some of her views about this topic too. She shares her disapproval of the hierarchy of staff within the library, and her disgruntlement at readers who come to the library and simply make a mess. Whilst she complains about many things to her captive listener, she nevertheless has a strong affection for libraries and books and this shines through.

She has been hurt in love and tells us she avoids it now, with her job helping her cope with all that bothers her: 'the library works like an anaesthetic for my hang-ups.' She reveals that she has noticed a man, Martin, who has been coming to the library, and he is evidently in her thoughts a good deal - she movingly discloses how beautiful she finds him, but her past hurt holds her back, and she seeks safety and solace in books:

'So men, no, that's all over. Love, for me, is something I find in books. I read a lot, it's comforting. You're never alone if you live surrounded by books. They lift my spirit. The main thing is to be uplifted.'

The author has captured the magic and joy of books and reading and the pleasure found in a library and conveyed this so well through the librarian. Her voice held my attention throughout. I think most bookworms will find elements here that they agree with, or that make them smile or chuckle, or ponder - I certainly did. All in all this is a lovely little book with much that will resonate with keen readers.

I marked and noted so many little passages as I read this book that I must share a couple more of my favourites here at the end of this review - there are so many perceptive gems to be discovered in Sophie Divry's writing.

'You know, in my job, there's nothing more exciting, to make you feel more wanted, than to be able to size up the person in front of you, guess what they're after, find the book they need on the shelves and bring the two together. Book and reader, if they meet up at the right moment in a person's life, it can make sparks fly, set you alight, change your life.'

'I prefer the company of books. When I'm reading, I'm never alone, I have a conversation with the book. It can be very intimate. Perhaps you know this feeling yourself? The sense that you're having an intellectual exchange with the author, following his or her train of thought and you can accompany each other for weeks on end.'
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'There are many passages throughout the book I wanted to highlight and scribble over.', 16 Feb 2014
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After it popping up quite a lot and being rather intrigued, I decided to buy The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry. Being around ninety pages, it’s an incredibly quick read, and I managed to zoom through it one morning.

The Library of Unrequited Love tells the story of a French librarian who opens her section of the library one morning to find someone who has been locked in overnight. Written in second person perspective to this person, the narrator discusses her love of books, her problems with the library system, and shares her attraction to one library visitor in particular.

The Library of Unrequited Love is, of course, a book that will be loved by book lovers. There are many passages throughout the book I wanted to highlight and scribble over but it would probably pain me to do so because I hate to treat books in such a way. Even though the narrator isn’t in her dream section of the library, her passion for books really shines through. It’s one of the things I loved most about the book, and really stood out.

Something striking about our narrator is her bitterness. It was nice to read about a character who had such strong opinions about things as this really helped connect reader and narrator. This connection was very important, as there are a few gaps in the reader’s knowledge of our narrator, her name being one of those things. I think this worked in the books favour though, so it’s not a bad thing. It’s what makes the book so unique.

I’m not sure why I only rated the book three stars. The rating is not a true reflection of my feelings towards the books, because I could have given it five stars. There was just something stopping me from giving it five, or even four, stars. Rating does not equal enjoyment, though, so please remember this.

For such a short book, there was so much emotion and feeling packed in. It’s not a book I’m going to forget in a hurry. The length of the book was something I particularly liked. It wouldn’t be the same if it were drawn out for hundreds of pages.

And, another thing I liked reading about, was the French culture. As the book has been translated from French to English, I think the culture was shown more than if it had been written in English and not been translated. In the past, I haven’t enjoyed books that have been translated so I was pleased to see how well this was translated.

I really think you should all read The Library of Unrequited Love. It won’t take you long and is a lovely book to curl up with on long, winter nights.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Library assistant's seal of approval :), 1 Jun 2013
By 
K. J. Noyes "Katy Noyes" (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Library of Unrequited Love (Hardcover)
I don't think I've ever read an entire book that consists only of stream-of-consciousness speech of one character.

It's a great idea, especially as in this book it's a library assistant/librarian - my own role.

A librarian discovers a customer who's been locked in her library basement all night and talks to him. About herself, her secret crush on a researcher, her thoughts on life, the Dewey Decimal system. As you do. It's very funny at times as well as educational!

The style is quite refreshing, though lack of paragraphs makes it hard to find places to pause. But as its only 92 pages that's hardly a problem.

It's a translation from the original French and very nicely done. But for the references to French culture you may not think its set lord side of your own country.

I hope other library staff read this but also a wider readership - it's quite enlightening on the library system in places.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, 4 April 2013
This review is from: The Library of Unrequited Love (Hardcover)
Very well written and full of quotes to remember, but lacking a story. It begins when a person is discovered early before the library opens and ends with the opening of the library, with a collection of thoughts inbetween. Just not for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On the fence with this one, 9 Feb 2013
By 
Sharon (Wiltshire) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Library of Unrequited Love (Hardcover)
When a copy of The Library of Unrequited Love dropped through my letterbox to review I wasn't really sure what to expect of it. It's basically a short story, at only 92 pages, of a French story that has been translated into English.

At first I thought Uh Oh I'm not sure whether I'm going to like it as it just seemed to be page and page of ranting, about anything and everything. If I'm honest, if it wasn't such a short story I probably would have given up after the first 30 or so pages but as it was only 92 pages I did read on to the end.

It's basically a one-sided conversation by the librarian who works in the Geography section to the unfortunate soul who'd got locked in overnight who has no means of escape so has no option but to sit there and listen to her.

He's the outlet she needs to pour out all the frustrations that have building up inside her: so she vents about anything and everything... about the hierarchy system within the library, the way she sees her colleagues, about the different types of visitors to the library, other media types taking over from books as well as how she feels about a young researcher. But then there's the non-book related topics which include how she came to be in this town in the first place and the French Revolution. But the one thing that does shine through above all else is that deep down she does love her job as a librarian and she has a real passion for books which as a fellow bookworm I can appreciate.

So now that I've read it, would I read it again? The honest answer is No. On the plus side as it is such a short story which makes it a quick read that you can finish in just the one sitting, on the negative side as there are no chapters, if you wanted to stop at a certain point, I normally read on until the end of the chapter when I want a break, you couldn't do that with this book. Overall I think I'm on the fence on this one, I didn't LOVE it but then again I didn't HATE it either.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BRILLIANT short story! xxx, 30 Jan 2013
By 
Megan ReadingInTheSunshine (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Library of Unrequited Love (Hardcover)
The Library Of Unrequited Love is a short story at 92 pages, and I'm going to say this again - I am a HUGE fan of short stories. I genuinely believe that short stories deserve more publicity than they currently receive. Short Stories are PERFECT for when you want to read something, but you'd like it all in one go, rather than having to put the book down and come back to it. They are perfect for being on the move, as you can read short stories on the bus, during your lunch break, and you can return to your desk satisfied at having read the story rather than spending the rest of your day in suspense thinking about what might happen next. Short Stories are also great for readers who perhaps don't want something too heavy, who want to start off and take things at an easy pace, or perhaps want a few short stories to ease them into reading. As you can tell, I think short stories definitely have their place in the book world!

The Library Of Unrequited Love revolves around a librarian who arrives at work one morning to find that a member of the public has been locked inside the building overnight. She begins to talk to the reader, in a one-way conversation full of her job, her frustrations in life and the observations she makes whilst quietly watching the comings and goings of the library.

I originally was not quite sure what to make of this book when I opened the first page, but I was quickly gripped by the narrative and I REALLY enjoyed this! I was surprised in the best way possible and I do think that this story will be one of my favourite reads of 2013. I liked that the whole book was the monologue of the librarian and so as the reader we are gaining a picture of her world and her as a character through the one-way conversation she has with the reader who was locked in. Even though we hear a lot about her frustrations on a variety of subjects, her passion and love of books shines through and makes a beautiful contrast. We also gain an insight into her personal life as she tells the locked in reader about a certain someone she's been watching in the library. The librarian is very-straight talking and opinionated which I did think would put me off, but in fact it made the book more compelling to read!

I can not say too much more without giving anything away but this book is an undiscovered gem! It is brilliantly written, witty, with some moments in that will make you laugh, and the writing will grip you throughout. The Library Of Unrequited Love is a fantastic little read and deserves to be on the bookshelf of all book lovers!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Unrequited reading, 2 July 2014
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If you read the blurb on the cover you don't need to read the book. I kept expecting something to happen something more to be revealed. Just a boring monologue.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not a fan., 15 Jun 2014
By 
Jennifer May (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
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I really wanted to like this one. It sounded perfect for me, but I just opened it to read the first chapter...and then I discovered that there were no chapters. Not even line breaks. Not even paragraphs. The entire story is just one giant paragraph so once you start reading (if you're like me and have to finish at the end of a chapter) you can't stop until you're done.

The protagonist (and only person you hear) was also kind of annoying and got on my nerves after the first few pages.

Not bad for a short read, but I hoped for more
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The Library of Unrequited Love
The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry (Hardcover - 31 Jan 2013)
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