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A Factotum in the Book Trade

by Marius Kociejowski

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personal memoirs, literary, editors, journalists, publishers, books
list price: $22.95
published: 2021
publisher: Biblioasis

A lifelong antiquarian bookseller’s memoir describes the trade from the factotum’s perspective—and in doing so reveals its ticklish underbelly.

A memoir of life in the antiquarian book trade, in London, England, and, in keeping with Kociejowski’s travel writing, a journey through people’s lives. Beginning with his childhood in rural Ontario, where at the annual village jumble sale he would buy books not so much for their content as for their tactile qualities, and from there to Ottawa, where he first learned books can have a value, and from there to England, where he fell into the book trade almost by accident, A Factotum in the Book Trade is an elegy for a floating world on the cusp of disappearance

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Contributor notes

Marius Kociejowski, born 1949, is a poet, essayist and travel writer. Among the books he has written are The Street Philosopher and the Holy Fool – A Syrian Journey, now reissued by Eland, and a sequel, The Pigeon Wars of Damascus published by Biblioasis in 2010. His first collection of poetry, Coast (Greville Press, 1990) was awarded the Cheltenham Prize. His most recent books are God’s Zoo: Artists, Exiles, Londoners (Carcanet, 2014), The Pebble Chance: prose & feuilletons (Biblioasis, 2014), Zoroaster’s Children and other travels (Biblioasis, 2015) and Collected Poems (Carcanet, 2019). He has recently completed another travel book, The Serpent Coiled in Naples. He lives in London, England where, until recently, he worked as an antiquarian bookseller.

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Editorial Review

Praise for Marius Kociejowski

"Kociejowski draws on all the aspects of his life in these engaging, idiosyncratic personal essays ... [that] proffer the reader equal measures of autobiography, insight and quirky charm." —Michael Dirda, Washington Post

“Here the charm is deep, the splendour unlaboured; the colours of history, reckoned afresh, saturate singular people, in whom passion is lucid again...here is one who collects his extraordinary resources, and strides.”—Christopher Middleton

“It is a testament to the power of this superb book that I felt not despondency, but ... elation."—Adam Thorpe, Times Literary Supplement

"Treasures are revealed ... with a formidable erudition, and at their best they gleam with an enameled splendour."—Ken Babstock, Globe and Mail

"Kociejowski writes beautifully ... unusual, poetic, and thought-provoking."—Library Journal

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