Waiting at the airport of a Caribbean island for his homeward bound plane, Edward Ray—the bookman of the title—reflects on this week, which has changed his life. First, there was the cargo ship voyage to San Juan de Pinos, a journey shared by an odd assortment of fellow passengers whose lives impinge on his own, and who entertain one another—in the manner of the travellers in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales with stories of their own unusual experiences. Then there are his hopes for meeting Claudia—unseen for three decades—and for reviving the love they shared 30 years ago. Lastly there is Janet Tyner, a young woman who offers him a ride on the island and then gives him much more than he ever bargained for. The Bookman’s Tale is a lush and exotic novel, compact with the sights and smells of the Caribbean, of desire and passion, and with the mysterious ways of fate. It is a novel marked, as well, by the sensitive reflections of the Bookman himself, who, after his trip, has, perhaps, the most unusual tale of all those who made the journey.