A charmingly subversive novel about a library in 1950s England, by the acclaimed author of The Cleaner of Chartres. Sylvia Blackwell, a young woman in her twenties, moves to East Mole, a quaint market town in middle England, to start a new job as a children’s librarian. But the apparently pleasant town is not all it seems. Sylvia falls in love with an older man, but it is her connection to his precocious young daughter and her neighbours’ son which will change her life, putting them, her job and the library itself under threat. How does the library alter the young children’s lives and how do the children fare as a result of the books Sylvia introduces them to?
A work of fiction that also reflects Salley Vicker’s own lifelong love of literature, The Librarian brims with references to favourite novels from childhood onwards (readers will appreciate the accompanying list of all the fiction mentioned in the book). Carrying echoes of Penelope Fitzgerland’s The Bookshop and Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, it’s a book about love, education and the relationship between an individual and a community. Most of all, however, it is a book about the ways in which reading can shape and foster a life.