I know so many people who would hate the librarian depicted in Sophie Divry’s novella, The Library of Unrequited Love. The unnamed librarian confesses to playing tricks on architects who visit the library in revenge for the dark basement she has to work in. She thinks most visitors to the library are uncultured morons. She hates noisy people. The unnamed librarian is one of the reasons people don’t like to go to libraries.
The Library of Unrequited Love is a long rant, essentially. The librarian finds a visitor who was stuck in the library overnight when she comes in to ready her basement for another day. The visitor then has their ear talked off by the librarian talking about the Dewey Decimal System, the “duchesses” of literature and history who look down on her, cuts to library funding, Eugène Morel, the various people who visit her library, how she hates to go on holidays, the sorts of books people ought to be reading, and on and on. She’s contradictory in much of what she professes to think and believe.
Almost every topic in the librarian’s long, meandering soliloquy brings her back to Martin, the writer she has a crush on. The librarian is, of course, too shy to approach Martin directly. Instead of actually talking to him, she imagines the wonderful intellectual conversations they might have.
The librarian in The Library of Unrequited Love will raise more than a few hackles among library-loving readers. As a librarian, I’d like to say that librarians like the one Sophie Divry created. But that wouldn’t be entirely honest. There’s a lot I recognize in this unnamed librarian. Imagine having to work in a dark basement, receiving few visitors, never being told thank you for giving help. I can easily see how one could grow to resent people. As much as the librarian here claims to despise most people, there are moments in The Library of Unrequited Love when she talks about the magic of finding the right book that redeem her just a little.
I received a free copy of this ebook from Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. It will be released 7 April 2015.