A review that has been simmering in my mind space for a while now. The book came as a compelling recommendation on a literary group, else would have gone undiscovered by me. It made me take a mild detour from my reading path to give it a try.
Just one thirds of the way into the book I found the protagonist Firmin to be an endearing and tragic little creature. A sentiment that I seem to have involuntarily extended to its likes scurrying around the house. And a dilemma has gripped me since. While a logical part within urges me to keep the bookshelves closed lest a Firmin venture in and devour more than words from a book, another part worries. What if a Firmin has already found its way in and made its home within the cozy covers of a beloved read. Even as I feel stirrings of despair and my fingers itch to pull down the endless rows of books, stacked one behind the other and inspect them for wholesomeness, another part of me frowns in concern for Firmin. Will it asphyxiate if I were to tightly shut the bookshelves…that is if a Firmin lurks inside already.
I have thoroughly diverged from what you might have expected from a standard conventional review, have I not? But such is the impact of stepping into this book and letting the narrative take you on an unconventional journey with an unlikely hero set within the limitless confines of a well-stocked book store, a world unto itself. A life journey that allows you to not only witness the coming-of-age story of a rat with a strong literary connection from birth, but also empathize with and root for him. A rat who has a discerning taste for literature both literally and figuratively and is a connoisseur of fine words. He is possessed of a sublime thought process, refinement and delicate sensibilities that confers on him a unique identity and distinguishes him from any other creature: human or otherwise.