Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Best Book of the Year So Far: Paul Kozlowski

Paul Kozlowski is truly one of the smartest and most passionate people in publishing. You haven’t been sold a book until you’ve heard Paul preach about a favorite book; it's an experience. Paul is an Associate Publisher at Other Press helping publish their truly impressive books.

 Here is Paul's pick for best book of the year (so far):

The best book I've read this year was first published — posthumously — in 1981. It is G. B. Edwards' The Book of Ebenezer Le Page. The edition I read was published by New York Review Books in 2007. It's hard to believe that it was out-of-print and unavailable for any length of time. It's a longish and frighteningly ordinary novel and it made me cry, the last three chapters did, which I rarely do. Ebenezer Le Page is an old Guernseyman writing his reminiscences, covering the period from the end of the 19th century through the mid-1970s on his beloved island in the English Channel. He loves but never marries, lives through two World Wars, endures multiple friendships and enmities, and bemoans the slow desecration of Guernsey by the inexorable forces of modern life — the car, the phone, the television, and the abandonment of religious faith for something far more irrational: monetary faith. The part that made me cry was toward the very end, when Ebenezer goes around the island to visit people he has long known to see if any of them are worthy of inheriting his legacy. He has no heirs of his own and a considerable sum of money that he has accumulated down through the years. No one is deemed worthy until he meets a young man with whom he'd once had a legal run-in. The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is a book that made me feel glad to be alive. Alive and yet mournful — almost inconsolably so — at the passing of so many loved ones and at the passing of a way of life. G. B. Edwards found the universal in the particular and I dare anyone to read his novel without recognizing oneself in his protagonist. 

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