Book Review: The Bookshop that Floated Away by Sarah Henshaw

History has witnessed that people who have tried to do unusual things have always faced immeasurable impediments and had to chug through to achieve success. Same goes for Sarah Henshaw, the author of ‘The Bookshop that Floated Away’. ‘The Bookshop that Floated away’ is an adventurous account of a book lover and her innovative method of selling books. This is also a journey for the unknown and the quench for wanderlust.
In 2009 a successful TV journalist moved to Midlands from London to reunite with her boyfriend Stu. After sending string of media applications and landing with nothing successful, she decided to discover a dream job for herself. That’s how the idea for a bookshop was sowed which also looked like a thriving business plan. The book slowly unfolds about how she acquires a barge and sets up her own bookshop in it with its mishaps. Nevertheless, the book shop was set up after six months of its conceiving. Initially it enjoyed the patronage of local readers but soon Sarah realized that business wasn’t easy.
One May morning Sarah set her sails to float across the length and breadth of the country. As romantic it sounds, it had its own stint of disasters like flooded engines, setting up of a commode latrine, banned out of Bristol and flowed away on several occasions. The book depicts small incidents which are stories in their own entity as to how books were bartered for food, accommodation, bathroom facilities and at times small indulgences like a slice of cake.
As romantic as it sounds , this book is laced with love for life, literature and books and chronicles Sarah’s journey and her discovery of her physical and spiritual world ; as she battles to save her floating bookshop , ‘ The Book Barge’ from sinking beneath the apathy and the death of book selling under the guillotine of book giants like Amazon.
That ‘Bookshop that Floated Away’ is a beautiful book with true accounts of a passionate booklover who goes beyond all odds to set up her own book shop and a romantic journey that meanders towards a gratifying and optimistic conclusion. It’s a witty, touching and ultimately a life- affirming tale of achieving against the odds.
-Sridatta Gupta

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