The medicinal benefit of books

‘Let’s stick to Monsieur Jordan for the moment.  Monsieur Jordan, if you don’t mind.   You see, I sell books like medicine.  There are books that are suitable for a million people, others only for a hundred.   There are even medicines – sorry books – that were written for one person only.’

‘Oh God.  One person?  A single person?  After all those years of work?’

‘Of course – if it saves that person’s life!  That customer didn’t need Night right now.  She couldn’t have coped with it.   The side effects are too severe.’

Jordan considered this.   He looked at the thousands of books on the freighter – on the bookshelves, on the chairs and piled on the floor.

‘But how can you know what a person’s problem is and what the side effects are?’

Now, how was he to explain to Jordan that he didn’t know exactly how he did it.

George, Nina.  The Little Paris Bookshop. London:  Abacus. 2015 (translated by Simon Para)