Phantoms on the Bookshelves by Jacques Bonnet (Translated by Siân Reynolds with an introduction by James Salter); Proust’s Overcoat by Lorenza Foschini (Translated by Eric Karpeles) - review by John Sutherland

John Sutherland

In A Bind

Phantoms on the Bookshelves


MacLehose Press 133pp £12

Proust’s Overcoat


Portobello Books 128pp £9.99

Something momentous is coming. Bigger than Alexandria, bigger than Savonarola’s bonfires, bigger than the awful incinerations of books at Dresden in 1945 and at Paternoster Row in 1941. In his introduction to Phantoms on the Bookshelves James Salter warns that: 

A tide is coming in and the kingdom of books, with their white pages and endpapers, their promise of solitude and discovery, is in danger, after an existence of five hundred years, of being washed away.

Utopia or apocalypse? Ronald Reagan liked to say that when the tide comes in, all the boats go up: a good thing. Tsunamis, on the other hand, are a very bad thing. Which is the Google Library Project? Its fifteen million volumes will be in the palms of

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