The Library Of Unrequited Love is a little book I have had on my bookshelves for about five years. It was a book that first caught my eye in the shop due to its sweet cover art and I loved the title and premise so had to pick up a copy. However, at the time it was a book I never finished, not getting quite into it for some reason, so I thought I would return to it now as I was looking for an entertaining story that I could read in one sitting. And at just over 90 pages, this was one that provided just that.
Originally published as ‘La Cote 400’ in French in 2010, this edition was published in 2013, translated by Sian Reynolds. And as the titles suggest this is a story for a booklover, with the library and its thousands of books being the centre of a quirky little tale. I think perhaps what I found a little off putting on my first read of this book was its structure, as it is told in the form of one continuous monologue with no chapters or paragraphs. However, this wasn’t something that bothered me too much this time around. This is the story of a librarian, who upon stumbling across a reader one morning who has been locked in overnight, pours her heart out to him. The conversation she has is entirely one way, and the circumstances leading to the reader being in the library that morning are not revealed. But what we do discover is the innermost thoughts and emotions of the librarian, as she reveals all about her life and work, and the object of her affections.
The Library Of Unrequited Love is an entertaining book, and the concept was one that was really appealing to me as at its heart is a woman who is passionate about the arts. We hear her thoughts on her role at the library, and her opinions of her co-workers and the Dewey Decimal System. But there are also thoughts shared on love and life in general, political views and a biting social commentary which made for interesting reading. I liked that the book is dedicated to the thoughts and feelings of a booklover, and the way in which she opens her heart to a stranger in unusual circumstances, and I was left wanting to find out more about Martin, the researcher who has captured her heart. I also particularly enjoyed the way in which this story talks about the power of books, and the crucial role played by the library in getting books into readers hands, which is always a lovely thing to read about.
Whilst it took me a little while to get into the format of this book I found The Library Of Unrequited Love to be a charming and entertaining little book which was insightful and humorous, and a great story for booklovers.