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The Dark Library

The Dark Library

By Cyrille Martinez
Translated by Joseph Patrick Stancil
Categories: Fiction
Paperback : 9781552454077, 168 pages, October 2020
Ebook (PDF) : 9781770566323, 168 pages, October 2020
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781770566224, October 2020
Read Excerpt (PDF)

Libraries are magical places. But what if they’re even more magical than we know?

In Cyrille Martinez’s library, the books are alive: not just their ideas or their stories, but the books themselves. Meet the Angry Young Book, who has strong opinions about who reads what and why. He’s tired of people reading bestsellers, so he places himself on the desks of those who might appreciate him. Meet the Old Historian who mysteriously vanished from the stacks. Meet the Blue Librarian, the Mauve Librarian, the Yellow Librarian, and spend a day with the Red Librarian trying to banish coffee cups and laptops.

Then one day there are no empty desks anywhere in the Great Library. A great horde of student workers has descended, and they will scan every single book in the library: the much-borrowed, the neglected, the popular, the obscure. What will happen to the library then? Will it still be necessary?

The Dark Library is a theoretical fiction, a meditation on what libraries mean in our digital world. Has the act of reading changed? What is a reader? A book? Martinez, a librarian himself, has written a love letter to the urban forest of the dark, wild library, where ideas and stories roam free.


"The caustic and often hilarious story of the misadventures of a library, all the concerns and issues facing the professions … The fantastic with a hint of irony of Cyrille Martinez’s writing is reminiscent of Marcel Aymé." –Livres Hebdo

"A poignant and shrewd commentary on changing readership demands, The Dark Library also shows an appreciation for those readers, and the librarians who serve them, too.” –Booklist

"Over a documentary base that it itself worth reading, he composes a passionate fiction, almost fantastic, showing the defeat of the printed word by the digital." –L’Humanité

"French writer and librarian Martinez explores the purpose of libraries amid sweeping societal changes in this whimsical novel. ... satire with wit and quirky characters. This will delight fans of absurdist fiction." –Publishers Weekly

"Martinez, a librarian himself, has written a love letter to the urban forest of the dark, wild library, where ideas and stories roam free." –Malvern Books