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Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife - Sam Savage

Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife - Sam Savage
 Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife - Sam SavageFirmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife - Sam Savage 

This is book № 129 of a signed and numbered slipcased edition of only 250 copies.

Title: Firmin

Author:  Sam Savage

ISBN:  9780297854586

Weight:  708 g

Signed numbered first edition, first printing with slipcase



Sorry, sold out

Our price:  £35.00

Firmin by Sam Savage

Firmin is the runt of a litter of rats born in the basement of Pembroke Books, a ramshackle old bookstore run by the equally shambolic owner Norman Shine.  Forced to compete for food, Firmin ends up chewing on the books that surround him.  Thanks to his unusual diet, he acquires the miraculous ability to read.  He subsequently develops an insatiable hunger for literature and a very unratlike sense of the world and his place in it.  He is a debonair soul trapped in a rat’s body,

But a literary rat is a lonely rat and, spurned by his own kind, he thinks he recognises a kindred soul in Norman.  Firmin seeks solace in the Lovelies of the local burlesque cinema and in his own imagination.  But the days of the bookshop and of the close community around it are numbered.  The area has been marked out for urban regeneration and soon the faded glory of the bookshop, the low-life bars, loan agencies and pawn shops will face the bulldozers.

Brilliantly original and richly allegorical, Firmin is brimming with charm and wistful longing for a world that treasures its seedy theatres, one-of-a-kind characters, and cluttered bookshops.

Peer & Press Reviews

I enjoyed Sam Savage’s book more than any work of light fiction I’ve read in 2008

John Sutherland, Times

A thought-provoking meditation on the nature of human existence.

James Pressley, Bloomberg

As Firmin discovers when he hops across oceans and abridges centuries, reading multiplies life.

Peter Conrad, Observer

Bibliographic Info

SubtitleAdventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife
Book Features
Edition / printingFirst edition, first printing
Edition background

A leading London bookshop, working in conjunction with the publisher, commissioned just 250 signed and numbered copies of this book.

A tipped-in signature page shows the book’s number and verifies it’s a first edition.  Printed on this page is the book’s title, the author’s name, the name of the publisher’s imprint and the month / year of publication.

This title is probably the best-known work by the now deceased (died 17 January 2019) US author, Sam Savage.  While the back of the cover says this is his first novel, it’s presumed this refers to this 2006 UK edition as in 2005 he released The Criminal Life of Effie O in the US, a novel in verse described as “a children’s book for adults.”

Edition features

While the book has no dust jacket, it does have a striking cover.  This is die cut on its top edge to look as if a rat has chewed it!  (Note, the cream-coloured page seen behind the bite mark is the front free endpaper, not the text block, which is white.)

Another salient feature of the cover is the poignant depiction of Firmin by celebrated Chilean cartoonist Fernando Krahn.

A vivid red slipcase protects the cover.  This has the title and eight tiny paw prints printed in silver foil on its front panel.

Book number129 [of 250]
Overall conditionFine / na / Very fine (see our article on Condition Grades)
SignedOn a signature / number page tipped-in before the title page
Book Stats
PublisherOrion Publishing Group
ImprintWeidenfeld & Nicolson
Publication date
Printed byClays Ltd, Bungay
ISBN 139780297854586
FormatHardcover [pictorial boards], no dust jacket
Size (h x w x d)212 x 140 x 23mm [slipcase]
Image and Design Credits
Author photographNancy Marshall
Cover illustrationFernando Krahn
Internal illustrationsFernando Krahn

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