The Heroine’s Journey in ‘The Bookshop’

What a gem of a film! the Spanish film-maker Isabel Coixet has made.  She refuses the familiar grace notes of comedy and sugary romance in favour of something more authentic, integer, awkward. The introvert Heroine’s Journey. Coixet has herself adapted this from the semi-autobiographical novel by Penelope Fitzgerald about an amiable young widow who comes to a remote coastal Suffolk town in the late 1950s, buys a dilapidated property there and enterprisingly converts it into a bookshop. She makes a success of it, largely by stocking Nabokov’s Lolita – thus incurring the envious displeasure of a local grande dame who had herself wanted the property for a self-aggrandising “arts centre”.

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