Author – Christopher Motley
Publishing year – 1917 (Original print)
Genre – Literature & Fiction
Pages – 152
My Rating – 3.5/5
Parnassus on Wheels is a very charming concoction of imagination; a caravan concealing a quaint and bookish world of its own drawn by a horse named Pegasus and the property of a little redheaded eccentric man on a mission. The mission is to make more people read and breath life into their daily motions. It’s a funny, sweet and engaging story. Read it when you’re sitting in your garden, enjoying the sunshine.
“When you sell a man a book you don’t sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue- you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night – there’s all heaven and earth in a book, a real book I mean. Jiminy!”
And honestly, what’s more enticing than being in a caravan full of books beckoning you to read them with invisible hands rising out of their jackets? What’s more exciting than travelling from place to place and inspiring people to read – awakening them to the magic of “Little Women” or “Treasure Island” or “The Potato”? What’s more satisfying than having people come up to you and talk in passionate raptures of the last book from the Parnassus that they read?
This charming little book revolves around the adventure of a forty-something woman who has so far been buried in a humdrum domestic existence of baking bread loafs and tending to chickens. On a whim, she buys the caravan and sets off to travel and sell books with the literary huckster, Mr.Mifflin. It is on this adventure that she feels herself opening up to the joys of a vagabond life, of travelling and of nature. She escapes the clutches of her marginal life as a domestic figure in the backdrop, sells books, finds love, fights off hoboes and rescues Mr.Mifflin from jail.
While the book holds a definite charm for all bibliophiles– even with a strong and promising motif of the Parnassus on Wheels, the book did not live upto the promise. The character development of Helen which is one of the main plotlines is a makeshift job and the adventures on the book caravan are best described as mildly pleasing. It’s a gentle and breezy read, the book talk made my heart swell with joy but at times was a drag. Overall, however, it’s quite funny, enjoyable and readable. Give it a try! I read this on my kindle and somehow any book read on my kindle diminishes the enjoyment I would have got from the paperback.