Author(s): Sam Savage
This is a novel told through the voice of a rat. Firmin is born in the basement of a ramshackle old bookstore but because he is the runt of the litter, he is forced to compete for food and ends up chewing on the books that surround him. Firmin soon realizes his source of nourishment has endowed him with the ability to read and this discovery fills him with an insatiable hunger for literature and a very unratlike sense of the world and his place in it. As Firmin navigates the shadowy streets of his decaying area, looking for understanding, his excitement, loneliness, fear, and self-consciousness become remarkably human and undeniably touching. But the days of the bookshop and of the close community around it are numbered. The area has been marked out for 'urban regeneration' and soon the faded glory of the bookshop, the small local theatre, the unique shops and small cafes will face the bulldozers and urban planners. Brilliantly original and richly allegorical, Firmin is brimming with charm and wistful longing for a world that understands the redemptive power of literature and treasures its seedy theaters, one-of-a-kind characters, and cluttered bookshops.
A brilliant gem - a book infused with the love of reading and nostalgia for unique local bookshops filled with undiscovered treasures This book has created a buzz all over the globe 'Delicious. Firmin is a book that is written for readers, that is, for people who have the book passion and for whom books are as real as anything else in life' DONNA LEON 'A profound study of alienation and the heartbreaking obscurity of the outsider, Firmin is also a piercing commentary on the human condition in an ever-changing society. Savage weaves an inventive and dreamlike tale, by turns hilarious and startlingly moving, completely outlandish yet utterly credible, and sure to bring a smile of deep satisfaction to its readers Barnes & Noble 'A rat's life may be brutish and short, but not necessarily without style' Kirkus Review
'The charming and allegorical tale of a rat born in a bookshop who inadvertently eats Finnegans Wake, and so begins his lifelong taste for high literature.' TIMES 'A melancholy and quirky debut novel...a heartbreaking tale of frustrated intellect and urban regeneration' OBSERVER
A native of South Carolina now living in Madison, Wisconsin, Sam Savage received his bachelor and doctoral degrees in Philosophy from Yale University where he taught briefly. He has worked as a bicycle mechanic, carpenter, commercial fisherman and letterpress printer. This is his first novel.