No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister
At first glance, you might not understand the connection between the theme of this novel – the magic and power of story – and its title — No Two Persons. Inspired by the familiar adage “no two persons ever read the same book,” Bauermeister plays with structure to create a collection of linked stories that speaks directly to the heart of book lovers everywhere. The uniting thread is a fictional book called Theo. Though readers get only vague hints at the plot and themes of Theo, we follow the novel through its lifespan, from the writing process through publishing and then into the lives of nine of its readers. Notably, each person engages with the book in a different way; though some are people you might expect to find in a book about books (agent, bookseller), others are thoroughly unique, like a caretaker grappling with grief or a record-breaking free diver. Bauermeister, a Northwest favorite, is at her best when it comes to creating relatable and complex people and emphasizing her theme: that stories call to us, imprinting our lives in ways we might never imagine.
Reviewed by Mary Kinser, collection development librarian, Whatcom County Library System
(Originally published in Bellingham Alive August 2023 issue.)