‘The Library of Unrequited Love’ is quite easily one of the best short stories I have read not only this year but in a very long time.
I think sometimes with short stories it can be difficult for them to be really good and to make an impression on you like a longer novel or triology would do, as the lack of pages means less space to develop characters and plotlines. Where this differs is that it doesn’t even try to do that in the first place, completely ignoring development of plot and character and taking a different path altogether.
The novel is essentially about a librarian who comes to work one morning and discovers a library goer who has been locked in her basement room all night and has slept there. The following 90 odd pages of the novel are all her one way conversation, well more a monologue, to the person she has just found there.
It is a fast paced novel because it is wrote in a stream of consciousness style which makes this a very quick read as you are reading at the speed of the thoughts that run through the librarian’s brain over around the course of half an hour. This is a book that could easily be read in an hour or so, I personally spread it out over three days but it is very hard to find a place to stop as there are no chapters or even paragraphs.
The main female character of the librarian remains anonymous in terms of name, much like the person found there, and we only get introduced to a couple of characters as they pop up in her head like Martin, her ‘unrequited love’ and the boss of the library.
This is a very good read and one of the best first person narratives I’ve read, alongside ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ which I’ve also recently read. The whole story in itself is brilliant and I think this is a very unique idea for a short story that really works and bypasses the problems of other short reads easily.