Olivia's Reviews > Firmin

Firmin by Sam Savage
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May 18, 10

bookshelves: contemporary-literature
Read on May 17, 2010

This book really surprised me. When I saw it at Powell's Books, I knew right away I was the target audience. See that white chunk on the right side of the cover? It's a literal chunk taken out of the book. As though a rat had nibbled it. On the back, it said it was a book about Firmin, a rat who begins by consuming literature, but soon finds it consumes him. It's about a rat who loves books. Perfect for me. So I bought it, guessing it would be a fun, cute summer read, with little substance.

It isn't cute, and it certainly isn't lacking in substance. Rather, it is a beautiful exploration of a lonely genius. I couldn't help but identify with Firmin the rat as he navigated the human world, separated by his lack of voice and the fear most humans hold for rats.

The cast of characters is rounded out by a bookshop owner, a compassionate (but probably off-his-rocker) sci-fi author, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (who are residents of Fermin's fantasy life), and hundreds of books. In his isolation, the books Firmin reads become his companions, adapting to fit into his world. Perhaps my favorite line is the following:

"And I introduce people. I put Baudelaire on the raft with Huck and Jim. It did him a lot of good."

I loved it only a few pages in, but I also realize that I would probably find it pretentious if it wasn't about a rat. As it is, it's the perfect balance between profundity and humor. Very dark humor, by the way.
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Reading Progress

05/17/2010 page 48
27.27%

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Nuchy (new) - added it

Nuchy Great review.


Olivia Nuchy wrote: "Great review."

Thanks, Nuchy!


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