The Green Man by Michael Bedard

Rating: 4 of 5

The Green Man by Michael BedardOver time, a bookshop will take the shape of its owner. Emily had been at the Green Man so long that it had grown around her like a second skin. The books were her flesh; the words that flowed through them were the blood that ran through her veins. The poetry section was the beating heart of the collection.

If the above passage speaks to you, then you’re probably the right reader for this book. It doesn’t matter your age, if you feel more at home in a secondhand bookstore than at your actual house, you’ll settle into this book’s atmosphere like a cat into a pile of freshly laundered clothes. If the idea that poets are all “crazy people” with a special perspective of our world (and maybe even other worlds), add this book pronto.

For me, The Green Man was to poetry as Among Others was to science fiction. Both held their respective forms high on a pedestal and showered the reader in various works and authors’ names – some well-known, others obscure – implanting a subliminal urge to read everything mentioned. Both featured a young adult’s quest to find herself. Both dipped their pinky toes into otherworldly goings on but, for the most part, remained fixed on the surface of our reality.

What I really loved about The Green Man – other than the obvious: books, a cat named Psycho, a bakery across the street from a bookshop, ghosts of poets hanging around the shop – was Emily’s ideas about time. (I love all things timey-wimey.) I wonder if the ghosts were an example of that opened door?

One nitpick, had I realized this was a continuation of the mystery and characters introduced in Bedard’s first novel, A Darker Magic, I most certainly would have obtained a copy to read prior to this book. However, having read The Green Man first, I don’t feel like I missed anything. Quite the opposite, now I absolutely MUST find a copy of A Darker Magic.

(Review cross-posted on LibraryThing and Goodreads.)

Received paperback from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.