Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife: 10/08/15
Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife by Sam Savage is a short meta fiction novel about a rat who grows up on books, moves in with an aspiring (but failing) author and has dreams of becoming both human and a published author.
As the runt of a litter of thirteen to a mother who cares more about her next drink than her own children, Firmin must make his own way in the world. Through the magic of the used book shop, he finds that the words on the paper that he's been eating have taught him the ways of the human world.
And so since the rat is living in a book store, surround by all the world's literature, he does a lot of name dropping. He waxes lovingly on the different books he's read, like one of those notorious name droppers at a cocktail party. I get it; books are wonderful, marvelous, magical things — but dropping titles as some sort of proof of that love — is well, trite.
This weird little rat tale is set against the razing of Scollay Square in Boston. For those familiar with the area and its history, there book will have extra meaning. But as Firmin was too busy proving to me (and failing) his love of books, I never really got a sense of the place or of his character — beyond finding him a very pretentious rodent.
For a better tale of books and bookstores, I recommend the memoir: The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee.